Every day, parents with children rely on school buses bring their children to and from school safely. School buses are large, high capacity vehicles that often transport as many as 60 students at a time. The U.S. Department of Transportation states, “School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and American School Bus Council, “Students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends.”
Though school buses are considered the safest way for students to get to school, accidents happen. Pedestrian accidents, in particular, account for the largest number of school bus-related fatalities. These accidents are most likely to occur when a student is boarding and disembarking from the school bus, or in a bus loading zone. In other words, most students are injured or killed outside the school bus.
Motorists attempting to illegally pass a school bus are most frequently responsible for school bus-related pedestrian fatalities. While a school bus has its red signal lights activated, motorists in both the same and opposing traffic lanes must stop ten feet from the school bus. Motorists must not resume driving until the red signal lights stop flashing.
Motorists that illegally pass school buses are putting students in the bus loading zone and themselves at risk. If found guilty of illegally passing a bus, a driver may face hefty fines and receive a license suspension. Additional penalties and criminal charges may apply in the event that a driver strikes a pedestrian while illegally passing a school bus.
There are also pedestrian accidents on record where the school bus itself struck pedestrians while in the loading zone, though extremely uncommon.
Nothing compares to the loss of a child or watching your child suffer an injury that will surely impact the rest of his or her life. If your child was injured or killed in a school bus-related pedestrian accident, immediately consult with an injury attorney who has experience handling motor vehicle accident cases. An initial consultation with our injury attorneys is free. A consultation will give you the opportunity to discuss the accident with an experienced lawyer and to learn about your legal options with no upfront cost to you.