School Buses Are Only As Safe As Their Driver
Atlanta Bus Accident Attorneys Observe That School Buses Are Only As Safe As Their Driver
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates the transportation of school-aged children across the country. Not only does the NHTSA issue regulations for the safe school bus operation but also investigates school bus crashes and other incidents involving school buses. The NHTSA has worked closely with other stakeholders such as school districts and bus manufacturers to develop safe and reliable buses to transport our children to and from school and other school-related events. The one thing the NHTSA cannot account for is the utter recklessness of a school bus driver.
According to the NHTSA, school buses are the safest vehicles on the road. On average four to six students die annually in school bus-related accidents. That number represents about one percent of all fatalities each year on our streets. Compared to the entire population of the United States and the number of children attending school each year, that number is minuscule. However, the death of one child is one too many.
Parents and guardians should be reassured that their children are safer on the school bus than riding in a car to school. The NHTSA estimates that a full school bus reduces road congestion by 36 vehicles in and around bus stops and schools, which reduces accidents. Additionally, students are 70 times more likely to get to school safely by riding a school bus than riding to school in their parents' cars.
Children are safer in school buses than any other mode of transportation, with good reason. School bus manufacturers design their vehicles to make them the safest vehicles on the road, despite no mandate that children wear seatbelts while riding in them. Manufacturers designed school buses to help avoid accidents whenever possible and reduce the severity of impact with another object if a crash is unavoidable. A school bus' safety features are unlike any other vehicle. The flashing red lights, lowering arm, protective seating, heavier bodies and frames that distribute crash forces differently than a traditional vehicle, and safety features that prevent roll overs all play a role in making a school bus the safest alternative for your child.
School bus laws and regulations are additional reasons why school buses are purportedly the safest place for a student. School buses must meet the strict safety guidelines before they can be used and frequently receive safety and maintenance inspections. Drivers must pass rigorous testing before obtaining a permit to drive a school bus and also comply with strict laws regarding operation of the vehicle. Also, all states impose strict safety standards on other drivers and, as such, school buses enjoy the most protection provided by law to any vehicle.
There are exceptions. School buses are yet to be fully equipped with technology that will replace the human driver. Until then, humans must drive children to school. Therefore, our kids are subject to the carelessness and recklessness of the driver. Most drivers are professionals and care for their children. Every once and a while, sadly, one driver demonstrates that they should not be behind the wheel of a school bus. For example, a Walton County school bus driver was arrested and charged recently with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The driver had 31 school children on board her bus while intoxicated. She was fired from her job and is facing criminal charges.
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Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333