Summer is over and the kids are back in school, and many of them travel to school on the school bus every day. As parents, we worry about a lot of things, but nothing is more important to us than our children’s safety, which means parents who rely on the school bus to get their child to and from school every day do so in the hope that everyone in the school district does their job properly and makes sure their child arrives at their destination safely.
Unfortunately, while nearly 23 million children ride the school bus every day and the vast majority of them gets school safely, occasionally school bus accidents happen, and these types of vehicle accidents can result in serious injury. Though school buses are among the safest modes of transportation on the road, since 2003, there have been more than 1,300 fatalities and even more injuries involving school bus crashes, including children on school buses, children getting on and off the bus, pedestrians, and people in other vehicles.
Federal Rules Mandate School Bus Safety Guidelines
In order to enhance the safety of school buses, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a number of rules in place regarding bus drivers and the buses themselves. These rules require that school bus drivers have a special license and be made to comply with certain guidelines, including the number of hours they can operate without a rest period. The rules also cover such aspects of bus safety as inspections and maintenance of the vehicles themselves. If either the bus driver or those responsible for the operation and maintenance of the bus violate any of these rules, they can place their passengers in danger, as well as everyone else on the road. That’s why the FMCSA takes their responsibility to regularly inspect school buses and other types of transportation very seriously.
Among the most common reasons for a school bus accident actually involve violation of FMCSA rules, and usually involve some sort of negligence; they include hiring improperly licensed drivers, or drivers who have not been trained or have a poor driving record, distracted driving, such as talking or texting on cell phones while driving, which is also a violation of Texas law, fatigued drivers, or a failure on the part of the bus operators to maintain the bus properly or keep proper safety equipment on board. All of these factors can be considered violations of FMCSA rules, which means they can also be seen as grounds for a negligence claim.
How Others Can Keep The Roadways Safe For School Busses
Adults also have a responsibility to drive safely around the school bus. When driving anywhere near a school bus, drivers of other vehicles should be aware of their surroundings and avoid doing anything that may distract the school bus driver. They should also be aware of the signals on a school bus; if a bus is flashing yellow lights, it is getting ready to stop, while red flashing lights mean the bus is stopped, and all other vehicles are required by law to stop, regardless of the direction they are traveling, and they cannot proceed until the red lights stop flashing.
Parents can also help keep their children safe by teaching them how to take the school bus safely. Instruct them to wait at the bus stop away from the street itself and to maintain a safe distance from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop and then only start boarding the bus when the driver says it’s okay. Teach them to use handrails when getting on or off the bus and to sit on the bus at all times with their back straight and looking forward.
People who suffer school bus accidents, whether they are on the bus or not, face a variety of injuries that range from simple cuts and bruises to fractures, severe burns, or even more debilitating injuries like paralysis. In many cases, the victim of a bus accident can face huge medical bills and also lose a lot of income during their recovery. If such an accident was caused by negligence on the part of the school district, the company operating the bus or the school bus driver, they may be liable for your injuries. Quite often, those operating school buses ignore the rules set up to keep everyone safe, and they should be held responsible.
Texas School Bus Accident and Injury Lawyers
If you have been involved in an accident involving a school bus and you have suffered injuries or damages as a result, the experienced skilled School Bus Accident Attorneys at the Gutierrez Law Firm have the ability to help you get compensation for your damages and losses, just as they have done to hundreds of others across Texas. Contact us today, so we can look at the facts and guide you through the process of protecting your rights.