Have you or someone you love been injured, or did you lose a loved one in a school bus accident? 

If so, it is critical to your case that you speak to one of our accident attorneys to understand and protect your valuable legal rights.  Fay Law Group, P.A., offers a free consultation and case review. Simply call (292) 589-1300 or contact us through our website´s online contact form to schedule your free consultation and protect your invaluable legal rights.

Understanding School Bus Accident and Injury Statistics

An article published by injuryfacts.nsc.org, the National Safety Council (NSC) has released a compilation of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concerning school bus-related accidents.

The NHTSA defines a school bus-related accident as “any crash in which a vehicle, regardless of body design, used as a school bus[,] is directly or indirectly involved” in an accident.  Such accidents include those involving children getting in and out of vehicles.  

In 2018, there were 117 reported fatalities nationwide resulting from school bus-related accidents.  Additionally, between 2009 and 2018, approximately 70 percent of deaths resulting from school bus-related accidents were occupants of vehicles other than a school bus.  Another 17 percent of deaths were pedestrians, 5 percent were school bus passengers, 4 percent were school bus drivers, and 12 percent were bicyclists.

Between 2007 and 2016, approximately 35 percent of school bus-related accident injuries were sustained by school bus passengers.  An additional 8 percent of injured individuals were school bus drivers, and 50 percent of injured individuals were passengers of other vehicles.  The remaining groups of injured individuals include pedestrians, bicyclists, and any other group categorized as “other or unknown.”

The school bus-related accident fatality and injury statistics reveal that the numbers each year have mainly stayed the same.  As such, the number of fatalities and injuries are neither increasing nor decreasing but staying steady.

Are School Buses the Safest Mode of Transportation for School Children?

Statistics reveal that school buses provide the safest mode of transportation for students getting to and from school.  Walking to school and riding in a passenger vehicle are considered more dangerous. The NSC indicates that school buses can be made even safer with the adoption of lap restraints and shoulder belts, and while some school buses have such restraints and belts, others do not.

As reported by the Howard County Public School System, various steps for drivers, students, and pedestrians can help to reduce the incidence of school bus accidents that lead to injuries and deaths each year.

All individuals present on roadways and near schools can take action to help limit the number of school bus accidents that happen.  The Howard County Public School System in Ellicott City, Maryland, has compiled information about school bus accidents and tips everyone can follow to help prevent future school bus accidents.

Motorist Responsibility

All motorists (including, among others, drivers of passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, work trucks, tractor-trailers, as well as motorcyclists) are required by law to stop when they see a school bus that has flashing red lights.  It is unfortunately not uncommon for motorists to attempt to pass stopped school buses by getting around school buses that are both flashing red lights and have the “stop arm” extended to alert drivers to stop.

If a motorist fails to adhere to the law by passing a stopped school bus, he or she may receive a traffic ticket, which imposes a fine of up to $1,000, and this amount may differ by county and state.  Some states may impose harsher penalties than others (especially if an accident happens and someone sustains injuries).  

While a school bus accident can happen anytime, the biggest threat to student safety is when students are getting on and off a school bus.  As such, motorists have an obligation to understand the laws and know when they are required to stop when behind a school bus and/or when approaching a school bus.

School Bus Safety Tips for Students

Students can follow basic safety guidelines to help minimize the risk of an accident happening.  Such tips include the following:

  • Do not use a cell phone or other device while crossing the street, and always look both ways before crossing to ensure there is no oncoming traffic.
  • Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you before you cross the street.
  • Cross the street at street corners and utilize crosswalks, and do not cross unless a traffic signal indicates it is okay to walk.
  • If you receive a call or are using your cell phone or another device, do not stop while crossing the street to look at your phone.  Wait until you have passed the street and move to a safe location before using your device.
  • Always use designated sidewalks and look out for vehicles that are turning onto streets or pulling out from driveways.
  • Do not wear headphones while crossing the street, or at least turn the volume down.
  • Drivers expect to see pedestrians in crosswalks, so always utilize crosswalks.
  • Be aware that others, including motorists and pedestrians, may be distracted, and speak up if you witness another person failing to exercise proper safety measures.

Steps to Take if You Have Been Injured in a Bus Accident

According to www.hg.org, there are steps individuals can and should take if they have been injured in a bus accident and/or they have lost a loved one who has been killed in a bus accident.

Understanding the Severity of Bus Accidents

Passengers who get on buses, including, among others, city buses, charter or tour buses, and school buses, are placing their safety in the hands of the bus driver.  Many people feel much safer on buses than they do in passenger vehicles, and many buses do not require seat belts. While some buses do have seatbelts or other restraints, many buses do not.

The consequences of bus accidents are often more significant than those of typical car accidents.  For example, bus accidents involve more victims, multiple responsible parties, and any injuries sustained may be worse than injuries sustained in more common traffic accidents.  The lack of safety equipment such as seatbelts and airbags exposes passengers to injuries if a bus accident happens.

Steps to Take After a Bus Accident

If you have been involved in a bus accident and have suffered injuries, you should first seek medical attention, as your physical health is the most important matter following an accident.  While bus staff would ordinarily be responsible for calling emergency personnel, this may not always be possible. As such, you should call 911 immediately after a bus accident.

Additionally, you should document the bus accident scene by taking pictures and obtaining identifying information and contact information from anyone else who was involved in the bus accident.  You should also obtain insurance information from the bus driver if possible, although the driver may not provide such information.

Filing insurance claims following an accident can be complicated, especially when a bus is involved along with numerous other passengers.  Therefore, you should consider working with an attorney to help you determine if you should file an insurance claim and whether you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  An attorney who handles accidents and insurance claims regularly is the best type of attorney who can help you.

If you or someone you love has been harmed in a school bus accident, protect your important legal rights and speak to one of our attorneys today.

Why Choose Fay Law Group, P.A. for Your Bus Accident Injury or Wrongful Death Case?

After an injury or the painful loss of a loved one caused by a tragic accident, coping with the legal system, insurance company claims process, and dealing with the other party’s attorney can make a stressful situation even more worrisome and painful for you. It is essential that you speak with a legal advocate who has the experience to protect your valuable legal rights and offer you the assistance you deserve when an accident has taken a toll on your life. 

At Fay Law Group, we are here to hold a liable party accountable for their actions and help our clients gain proven case results in their claims. We have over 50 years of experience assisting clients throughout the Washington, D.C. area successfully triumph in their cases. There are no upfront fees or costs if we are able to represent you or your loved one. We work on a contingency basis, so we do not receive fees or costs unless we help you obtain monetary compensation from a settlement or litigation. Please contact one of our Washington, D.C. car accident attorneys at (202) 589-1300 to discuss your claim.