Countless children rely on school buses to get them to school safely and on time. Parents wave to their children as they pull away from the bus stop, rarely worrying that anything could go wrong. Although school buses are an incredibly safe form of transportation with low accident rates, accidents do still occur. Students, parents, and other drivers all play a role in preventing collisions.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bus collision, don’t wait any longer to explore your legal options. Call McPhillips Shinbaum now to set up a consultation.
Advice for Children
The earlier parents begin teaching their children how to stay safe on and around buses, the better off their children are. Kids rarely think about the possible negative outcomes of their accidents, and it’s our job to protect them from those outcomes without causing anxiety. Parents can focus on teaching their kids these basic tenets of bus safety:
- Arrive early to avoid rushing. When kids are running to catch the bus, they are more likely to take unnecessary risks.
- Wait until it is safe to board. Wait until the bus has completely stopped before getting on. This protects you from unexpected jolts that can cause you to hit your head. The same is true when getting off the bus.
- Avoid distracting the driver. The driver must remain focused on the road to do their job safely. Students can help by staying quiet, staying in their seats, and not trying to interact with the driver.
- Exit safely and attentively. Children have a tendency to run off the bus to their parents, but that puts them at risk of being hit by a car. Teaching them to exit calmly and after looking both ways is essential.
- Never cross directly in front of or behind a bus. Buses have enormous blind spots; unintentionally getting in that blind spot could lead to tragedy. Ensure kids know to leave plenty of space when walking around a bus.
Tips for Other Drivers
Other drivers on the road should be extra cautious when driving near school buses. Remember that school buses are closer to large commercial trucks than they are to small passenger vehicles—they need more time to stop, have large blind spots, and are more difficult to drive. Keeping a safe following distance, being patient around buses, and being extra watchful for children can prevent accidents.
It’s also important to know the laws in your municipality. In Alabama, state law forbids other drivers from passing a stopped school bus. You must wait until the bus has resumed moving before going. The same is true even if the bus is on the opposite side of the road and driving in the opposite direction. However, drivers do not have to stop for a school bus if it is on the other side of a divided highway if two lanes allow for traffic to move in the other direction.
Safety Tips for Bus Drivers
Bus drivers are an important line of defense for students and other drivers. While much of this is second nature for bus drivers, these tips ensure student safety and reduce the risk of accidents:
- Check for mechanical issues before each trip: Buses are under a lot of strain every day, so breakdowns are always a risk. A quick vehicle inspection before each trip can prevent students from being stuck on an overheated bus on the side of the road where they are likely to be hit by inattentive drivers.
- Always be alert for students near the bus: While kids should know how to move safely near buses, they are unpredictable. Double-checking for children before moving the vehicle is a good habit to establish.
- Use signals and lights as required: Driving as predictably as possible allows other drivers to stop in time, preventing devastating collisions.
- Review emergency procedures on a regular basis: Should an accident happen, you want to know exactly what you should do to keep kids safe. Regularly reviewing procedures and expectations ensures that you are ready for anything.
Injured in a Bus Accident? Call McPhillips Shinbaum Today
If you’ve been hurt in a bus collision, you could be entitled to compensation. Let us help you explore your options. Schedule a consultation right away by contacting us online or calling us at 1-866-224-8664.