The Andres Lopez Law Firm

Waiting for the school bus is more dangerous

Parents and safety advocates have been concerned over safe school bus transportation to and from school and made recommendations such as the installing seat belts. Surprisingly, however, car accidents involving children waiting for the bus poses more dangers.

Fatalities involving school transportation comprise only one percent of almost 325,000 deadly crashes in this country from 2006 to 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But, over one-third of those fatalities, 102 students, were not in a vehicle. Statistics have not improved over time despite increased police enforcement in school zones.

In most states, drivers must stop and wait for a school bus that is stopped and flashing it lights and having a raised stop arm. Research, however, indicates that motorists routinely pass stopped school buses because of reckless driving and distracted driving behavior such as using their cell phones, among other things. According to a survey conducted in 38 states and the District of Columbia, 20 percent of bus drivers reported that 84,000 vehicles passed school buses illegally in just one school day.

Earlier this month in this country, five children were killed, and seven other children suffered injuries in one week in this country while waiting for the school bus in one week earlier this month. One accident occurred in Tallahassee when a kindergarten-age child was injured after being struck by a car in Tallahassee even though the bus's stop arm was raised. Three children from the same family were killed under similar circumstances in Indiana.

In addition to taking actions against behavior such as texting and driving, solutions include infrastructure improvements such as more sidewalks, traffic lights and pedestrian bridges. Better lighting can provide more illumination and visibility at roads and bus stops. Driver education should also focus on this issue.

Victims of these accidents should seek immediate legal representation. An attorney can seek evidence and protect their right to compensation in settlement negotiations and court proceedings.

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