Learn about the causes of school bus accidents and how drivers and passengers can help prevent them. Our personal injury law firm in Las Vegas offers tips to help reduce these accidents.
Labor Day Weekend is over. For most students in the United States, this signals the end of summer vacation. School is back in session.
When school is back in session, our children are back on school buses. Unfortunately, this also means a rise in the number of school bus accidents and children being seriously injured or killed.
School Bus Safety Facts
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the school bus is the safest vehicle on the road. In fact, your child is much safer taking a bus to and from school than traveling by car.
According to the American School Bus Council, says that students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely if they are traveling by school bus instead of traveling by car.
This is because safety standards for school buses are much higher. They are the most regulated vehicles on the road. At the national level, there are currently 10 congressional committees and a number of departments that directly affect the industry—including three Department of Transportation agencies—that oversee the quality and maintenance of school buses.
School buses are designed to be much safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries. School buses are designed to be highly visible. They include safety features such as flashing red lights, cross-view mirrors, and stop-sign arms. School buses also have protective seating, high crush standards, and rollover protection features.
Large school buses are heavier and distribute crash forces differently than passenger cars and light trucks do. Because of these differences, bus passengers experience much less crash force than those in passenger cars, light trucks, and vans.
School Bus Accident Statistics
Unfortunately, tragic school bus crashes still happen.
From 2004 to 2013, U.S. drivers were involved in 340,039 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,214, or just .4%, were classified as “school-transportation-related,” involving a school bus or other vehicle functioning as a school bus that was transporting children to or from school or related activities, such as sports or field trips.
The NHTSA reports that four to six school-age children die each year on school transportation vehicles.
To reduce the occurrence of these tragic accidents, it’s important to understand the most common causes of these accidents and what you can do to help prevent them. Our personal injury law firm in Las Vegas wants to help you and others prevent these tragedies.
Most Common Causes of School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents are tragic incidents that are often preventable. What causes these tragedies to occur? Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys encourage you to review these points:
They are often caused by:
- Negligence of the bus driver or the driver of another vehicle
- Failure to follow traffic laws
- Lack of or improper school bus driver training
- Poor maintenance of vehicles by the bus company
- Bad weather or dangerous road conditions
- Distracted driving or speeding
- Driver fatigue
- Mechanical failure
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Preventing School Bus Accidents
What can be done to prevent these tragic accidents from occurring?
There are things that can be done by the school bus drivers and school children riding the bus can do.
School bus drivers should:
- Abide by all the rules of the road.
- Follow federal regulations that apply to commercial motor vehicle drivers. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) requires that “extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions” exist. Additionally Article § 392.14 of the FMCSR states that extreme caution must be used in any situation where “snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust or smoke adversely affect visibility or traction.”
- Make sure that his or her passengers are seated while the bus is in motion and know about bus safety rules.
- Never drive when tired, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or distracted.
Parents should ensure that their children:
- Do not get on or off the bus unless it has come to a complete stop.
- Wait for the bus in a safe location that is away from traffic.
- Use the handrail when they are getting on and off the bus.
- Stay seated while the bus is in motion.
- Keep their body parts and any objects inside the bus at all times.
- Do not distract the bus driver.
- Keep the aisles clear.
- Wait for the driver to signal before crossing the street.
- Do not cross the street behind the bus.
- Walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing the street.
What to Do After a School Bus Accident
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident in Las Vegas or elsewhere, you should follow the following steps:
- Get immediate medical attention – Seek treatment from a medical professional, even if it seems like there have only been minor injuries. Some very serious injuries, like brain injuries, may not be easy to detect without proper diagnostic tests. Additionally, some injuries may take a day or two to fully surface.
- Document all injuries – After the accident, be sure to take photos and videos of all visible injuries.
- Get a copy of the police report – Make sure you receive a copy of the official police or accident report. Keep it for your records. This report will be important for any future insurance claim or personal injury claim that you decide to file.
- Maintain copies of all medical records – You should collect and maintain copies of all paperwork and medical bills that you receive. Medical records include ambulance bill, X-rays, MRIs, hospital bills, doctors bills, prescriptions, any other medical expenses.
- Collect information – If you can, obtain the names, phone numbers, and contact information for other passengers, drivers, and witnesses.
- Contact an experienced Bus Accident Attorney. Anthem Injury Lawyers, serving Las Vegas and the surrounding area, provides a Free Consultation. – Motor vehicle crashes involving vehicles like school buses are complex cases. Numerous parties may be held responsible for the accident and different laws may apply. For example:
- The bus driver and his or her personal insurance company may be held responsible if the bus accident was caused by driver error or negligence such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, or the driver committed traffic violations.
- The bus company may be held accountable for an accident if it was caused by improper vehicle maintenance, mechanical failure, or inexperienced or poorly trained drivers.
- The manufacturer of the bus may be held responsible if the accident was caused by a product or manufacturing defect.
- The city or state agency may be held liable if the vehicle is owned or operated the public school district. Claims against government agencies may involve special rules and a shorter statute of time for filing suit against it.
Experienced Las Vegas School Bus Accident Attorneys
If one of your children was injured while riding a school bus, you should seek legal advice from an experienced school bus accident lawyer.
At Anthem Injury Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers are highly experienced at dealing with bus-related accidents involving school children.
Our legal team is ready to advise you about your legal options and fight for you to get the compensation that you deserve.
Contact us today for a Free Consultation. Our law firm is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas, Nevada area. Call us at (702) 857-6000 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your Free Case Evaluation.