Preventing North Carolina School Bus Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that school buses are the safest way for kids to commute to school. Only one percent of children who lose their lives in fatal transportation accidents while going to or from school are killed in accidents involving a bus. Unfortunately, this still means that there have been many injuries or deaths. From 2003 to 2012, a total of 1,222 school-transportation related accidents have occurred and 174 kids have been killed. Fifty-five of the fatalities involved children who were riding on a school bus when the deadly accident happened and 119 kids were killed as pedestrians in a collision with a bus.
Preventing school bus accidents is the job of drivers on the road as well as bus drivers who must do their part to ensure kids stay safe. Parents also play a role in informing their children about best practices for safety. If a child is hurt, it is important to determine who is at fault. A personal injury lawyer can help parents and injured kids to obtain compensation for injuries or fatalities.
Preventing School Transportation Accidents
The NHTSA has a guide that is designed to reduce the risks of school bus accidents. Called Kids, the School Bus and You, the guide is tailored both to drivers and to children.
According to the NHTSA's guide, drivers should:
- Always watch for kids before backing out of a driveway or a parking space, especially as school starts and the number of children out walking or biking during rush hour increases.
- Watch out for school zone areas and be observant of children within these areas who may be walking to school or congregating at bus stops.
- Be especially alert for children walking to school or biking to school in areas where there are no sidewalks for kids to walk.
- Follow the law when it comes to stopping for school buses. Flashing yellow lights mean that the bus is preparing to come to a stop in order to unload children, which means that drivers on the road also need to prepare to stop. Flashing red lights and an extended stop arm means that kids are currently loading onto the bus or unloading from the bus. Drivers need to come to a complete stop.
Parents should also go over safety tips with kids, who should be reminded that they should:
- Arrive at least five minutes early to the bus stop.
- Stay at least six feet or three giant steps away from the curb when waiting to get aboard the bus.
- Wait to board the bus until the vehicle has come to a complete stop and the driver has said that it is time to board.
- Avoid falls by using handrails when climbing off or onto the bus.
- Cross at least 10 feet in front of the bus and ensure the driver can see you.
- Never walk behind a bus.
- Leave at least six feet between you and the side of the bus.
- Do not bend down to pick up dropped items until you have spoken to the bus driver and let him know, since the driver won't see you.
These safety tips can hopefully help to reduce the risk of a child being hurt or killed on a bus.
Help is available for accidents victims in Wilmington, NC. Contact the Law Offices of Richard Flexner at 800-FLEXNER to schedule a free consultation.