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Despite Safety Features, School Bus Injuries Still Occur

Every day, approximately 25 million students take the bus to and from school, says the National Safety Council. Although school buses are designed to be safer than traditional vehicles, children of Bay County are still at risk for being injured in a bus accident on their way to or from school.

Accidents Still Occur

School buses are designed to keep children safe while they are being transported to and from school each day. Some of these safety characteristics that are unique to school buses include:

  • Vehicles painted a bright color to increase visibility, typically yellow
  • Drivers who are well-trained and screened for safety
  • Reinforced sides
  • Crush standards for size and weight
  • Stop-sign arms that extend when the bus is stopped
  • Flashing red lights on the front and back of the vehicle

Although buses are specifically built for keeping children safe and are tougher, cleaner and better maintained than buses used in the past, accidents still occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 1998 and 2008, there have been 1,564 school transportation related fatalities. This breaks down to be about 142 fatalities on an annual basis.

Recently, 12 children in Putnam County were taken to the hospital after a school bus crash occurred on their way home from school, says Jacksonville.com. The bus rolled over onto its side after another vehicle on the road made a left turn and violated the bus' right of way. Of the 26 middle school students that were on the bus, 12 were injured and one was even taken to a nearby hospital on a back board.

Bus Safety Guidelines

Although the children riding the bus can generally not affect whether or not the bus is involved in an accident, children can take several safety precautions while they are getting on and off the bus, crossing the street near the bus and riding in the vehicle to prevent injury. When getting on and off the bus, children should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching the bus and make sure the driver can see them at all times. After the child is off the bus, they should look both ways before crossing the street and wait to cross if their vision is blocked by the bus or another vehicle.

While on the bus, children should refrain from talking loudly or engaging in disruptive behavior so that the driver is able to focus on driving safely. Children should always remain in their seat while the bus is in motion and wait to get up or leave until the vehicle has reached a complete stop.

Although buses are built to protect children and children can take safety precautions to prevent injury while going to and from school, bus accidents still occur. If your child was injured in a bus accident on their way to school or on their way home, contact a personal injury attorney to find out what your rights are as a parent.