It is the time of year that, at least if one believes the television commercials, children dread and parents dream of all summer long. Teachers are readying their classrooms as schools prepare to welcome students for the 2014-2015 school year. School buses are also getting ready, preparing to ferry students from home to the school building. While school buses rank as one of the safest ways to travel, school bus accidents remain a reality and we are dedicated to fighting for the victims.
Transportation officials with Bay County Public Schools are, via WJHG, reminding people to be alert for school buses when schools reopen next week. Parents are asked to prepare kids for the ride, including advising children on how to behave on the bus. Officials are asking drivers to look out for buses and students, noting children's vision and judgment are still developing so they may misjudge distances and speeds of oncoming vehicles.
Police also reminded drivers that they must stop for a school bus loading or unloading on either side of the street if there is no median. Drivers should still remain alert even if a median exists and thus stopping is not required. Police cite the area on 23rd Street near the Edgewood Apartments and Winn Dixie as a problem area where drivers frequently fail to stop for buses. Failure to stop is a minimum $265 fine. Speeding fines are doubled in school zones.
In June 2014, the National Highway Safety Transportation Association released a Traffic Safety Facts Page on School Transportation Related Crashes using 2003-2012 Data. The statistics say that 1,222 of the 348,253 fatal vehicle crashes in the time frame were deemed school-transportation related. On average, 135 people were killed in these incidents each year. Most appear to be adults in other vehicles. These figures include a total of 119 school-age pedestrians and 55 school-aged occupants of school-transportation killed between 2003 and 2012 in school-transit accidents.
Some researchers have suggested that study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Columbus Children's Hospital is a better reflection of school bus safety. The study, released in late 2006, looks at a wider range of school bus related injuries instead of focusing only on fatal or crash-related injuries. According to a study author, school bus injuries are three times more common than previous studies suggested. The study found approximately 17,000 school bus related injuries require emergency room treatment every year. It also concluded that traffic-related crashes are the top cause of nonfatal school transit injuries for children.
School buses are safer than many other forms of travel. Nonetheless, even one child lost or one child suffering a life-altering injury is one child too many. When any school-transit accident occurs, it is important to investigate and determine the cause, whether it is a reckless driver, a dangerous bus policy, a defective vehicle, or another matter.
This is part of what we do. Our investigation process helps us recover compensation for those affected by an accident while also helping prevent future tragedies. If your child has been hurt or tragically killed in a school bus accident, call to arrange a consultation.
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