Injured as a Result of a School Bus Accident
School transportation accidents were the cause of over 1200 fatalities between 2001 and 2010 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While this represents less than 1% of all fatal crashes in that time period, when it comes to our children, the statistics are extremely concerning. Frankly, one student death is far too many. When we put our children on a school bus, we trust bus drivers to get our children to school and back safely. The fact is: they make mistakes that can result in catastrophic consequences. Bus drivers are also dealing with the difficulty of driving a larger vehicle for long periods of time. Children are at a heightened risk of bus accidents simply because of the frequency at which they use busses to get to school and back home.
Problems relating to bus driver error include the following:
- Fatigue. Bus drivers work long shifts often beginning early in the morning and ending late in the evening. They are often placed on many routes each day. Fatigue impairs their decision-making and makes drivers less alert to road conditions around them
- Impairment from drugs and alcohol. An extremely disconcerting number of accidents are the result of a driver under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This hinders their judgement and can lead to serious vehicle accidents.
- Inadequate training. Driving a bus is different than driving a passenger vehicle. Drivers much be experienced in dealing with a larger vehicle. Improperly trained drivers may make turns that are too wide, take curbs to quickly, or fail to slow down in time.
- Speeding. No matter the type of vehicle, speeding increases the chances of an accident. Driving too quickly minimizes the reaction time of both the speeding driver and other drivers on the road. Pressure to meet school timeframes can lead to the speeding of school bus drivers.
- Cell phone use. Distracted driving always emphasizes the risk of an accident. Any driver who is not completely focused on the road while driving is less likely to identify a hazard or traffic signal and react in time.
- Inattentiveness. Bus drivers often deal with a lot of distractions including loud students and students roaming around the bus. Bus drivers need to have a heightened level of attention to stay focused on the road. Bus drivers work during peak rush hour to get students to school, and they need to be mindful of higher levels of traffic.
School buses often don’t have seatbelts, and those that do may be at a capacity where one is not available to every student. This leaves school bus riders extremely vulnerable to injury during a collision. Many accidents are also a result of defective equipment. Facilities that store school buses are responsible for the maintenance of up to hundreds of vehicles, and some issues tend to fly under the radar.
The NHTSA posits that the real risks that school buses pose, is one to other drivers and individuals on the road. The size and weight of the vehicles can easily crush a smaller car and can lead to serious injuries and death of other drivers, pedestrians, and bikers.What Should I Do?
No parent should have to worry about their student being tragically injured or killed on their way to school. After you seek medical attention for your student, contact one of our qualified school bus accident attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP. Bus accident lawsuits can be complex with many parties involved including the bus driver, the school, the bus company, as well as other negligent drivers. Insurance companies also play a role in assessing fault for these accidents. It is in your best interest to choose a reputable firm who can handle your claim for you. You may be entitled to compensation for your child’s injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and rehabilitation costs.
At the law firm of Altman & Altman, we pride ourselves on accessibility. The telephones at the law office of Altman & Altman are answered 7 days a week – 24 hours a day. In addition, all emails to the firm are answered within 4 hours, often sooner.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, please contact the law firm of Altman & Altman to speak directly with one of our talented bus accident attorneys. All initial consultations are free of charge.