With children heading back to school, many kids will be commuting via school bus. However, the Bradenton Herald reports that a recent school bus accident in Florida has raised concerns over child safety.
The reality is that approximately one percent of children killed in transportation accidents when going to school lose their lives in collisions involving school buses, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Unfortunately, the NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts also reveal that there were 1,222 fatal school-transportation related accidents in the last decade. Between 2003 and 2012, the fatal accidents resulted in 174 kids losing their lives while commuting to school.
Of the kids who were killed, 55 were riding on school buses at the time of the incident and another 119 were killed as a result of pedestrian collisions involving a school transportation vehicle. A personal injury lawyer should represent families when a child is injured or killed while in the care of a school district.
Avoiding school transportation accidents
Accidents involving transportation to and from school can be avoided if kids, drivers and parents follow best safety practices. The NHTSA has published a guide called Kids, the School Bus & You, which is targeted towards protecting the 23 million students nationwide who commute to school via bus.
Drivers must do their part to keep these kids safe. The NHTSA recommends:
- Drivers lookout for kids who may be walking or bicycling by before they pull out of driveways or parking spots, especially as the school year starts and more kids are on the roads during high traffic times.
- Drivers must pay attention to school zone areas and must be watchful of kids who are walking to school within these zones.
- Drivers should slow down in areas where there are no sidewalks and should be watchful of kids who may be walking or biking to school or who may be waiting near bus stops.
- Drivers need to follow the rules when it comes to stopping for school buses. Yellow flashing lights are an indicator to other motorists that the bus is preparing to stop in order to load or unload children. A stop arm and red flashing lights indicate that the bus has stopped and that kids are in the process of getting onto or off of the bus. Motorists are required to slow and prepare to stop at yellow flashing lights and must stop for red flashing lights.
- Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the time the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- Stand at least six feet (three giant steps) away from the curb and line up to board the bus away from the street.
- Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop and until the driver says that it is OK before trying to climb aboard the bus.
- Use the handrails to avoid falling down both when getting on and getting off of the bus.
- Ensure that you are at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before crossing the road and make sure that the bus driver can see you before crossing.
- Avoid walking behind the bus at any time.
- Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of a bus.
- Never try to pick up items that you have dropped near the bus until you have alerted the driver you plan to do so, as the driver may not see you if you are bent over.
Parents should make sure that kids know these best practices for school bus safety in order to reduce the risk that an accident will occur.
Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 to schedule a free consultation.