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School bus accidents are particularly horrifying because children are typically involved. Although school buses are highly regulated and designed to be extra visible, school buses are not perfectly safe for the children inside because many of the buses still don’t have seatbelts or safety features. School buses are also dangerous for other drivers on the road because, much like tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers, school buses are huge. Additionally, children are at particularly high risk when getting on or off the school bus because of irresponsible and reckless third-party drivers.  

According to the National School Transportation Association, there are an estimated 480,000 school buses on the roads every day in the United States. Thus, there are plenty of opportunities each day for school bus accidents to occur.

If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the school bus accident. Contact an Orlando school bus attorney at (321) 352-7588 as soon as possible after the school bus accident to protect your rights.

Causes of School Bus Accidents

Negligence, recklessness, and improper training are some of the more broad causes of school bus accidents, and really any kind of traffic accident. However, we have listed some of the more specific causes of school bus accidents below.

Getting on and off the Bus

School bus accidents often occur when children are getting on or off the school bus because drivers illegally pass the school bus, which is also known as a “stop-arm violation.” In fact, roughly two-thirds of school bus-related fatalities occur outside the school bus when children are getting on and off.

Distracted Bus Driver

Distracted driving is a leading cause of all kinds of traffic accidents. Unfortunately, school bus drivers are not immune from distraction, and a brief lapse in focus is all it takes to cause a school bus accident.

Speeding

A school bus takes longer than most types of vehicles to come to a complete stop. Thus, if a school bus driver speeds, it puts the passengers and other vehicles in serious danger.

Blind Spots

School buses have large blind spots all around. Sometimes inexperienced or irresponsible school bus drivers will attempt to turn or switch lanes without checking to make sure their blind spots are clear. Thus, blind spots are a major cause of school bus accidents.

Improper Turns

A school bus requires more time and space to make a turn than other vehicles because of its length. Accordingly, because the turns are complex, a driver can easily miscalculate and cause an accident. For example, school bus drivers can turn left in front of oncoming speeding vehicles or turn right and cause a pedestrian accident or a bicycle accident.

There are many causes of school bus accidents in Florida. If you or your child has been injured in a Florida school bus accident, we recommend you contact an Orlando school bus accident attorney as soon as possible at (321) 352-7588.

School Bus Accident Statistics

The National Safety Council (NSC) compiles crash data every year on traffic accidents for all types of motor vehicles, including school bus accidents. The NHTSA defines a school bus-related crash as any crash in which a vehicle, regardless of body design, used as a school bus is directly or indirectly involved. This definition also includes incidents involving school children getting in or out of a vehicle. Below are some of the school bus accident statistics from the National Safety Council from 2016 to 2019.

Deaths in School Bus-Related Crashes in the US

  • 2016 – 125 Total Deaths in Bus-Related Crashes
  • 2017 – 96 Total Deaths in Bus-Related Crashes
  • 2018 – 117 Total Deaths in Bus-Related Crashes
  • 2019 – 109 Total Deaths in Bus-Related Crashes

Injuries in School Bus-Related Crashes in the US

  • 2016 – 16,000 Total Injuries in Bus-Related Crashes
  • 2017 – 12,000 Total Injuries in Bus-Related Crashes
  • 2018 – 13,000 Total Injuries in Bus-Related Crashes
  • 2019 – 13,000 Total Injuries in Bus-Related Crashes

What to Do After a School Bus Accident

If your child has been injured in or around a school bus or if you or a loved one has been injured in a school bus accident, we strongly recommend you contact an Orlando school bus accident attorney. Like any other personal injury claim, the sooner you talk things over with an attorney, the better.  Additionally, after the accident, consider taking the following steps.

Get Medical Help

If you, your loved one, or your child is hurt, seek medical attention right away. Many injuries take time to manifest, so it is a good idea to go see a doctor even if the injured person is not experiencing terrible pain.

Take Pictures and Videos of the Scene

If possible, immediately gather evidence of the accident scene. Take pictures of the accident scene from several different angles. Also, take a few selfies so your attorney can easily identify you in any camera footage available.  Finally, take a quick video of the accident scene. Walk around and show the viewer everything you can about the accident scene. This kind of data could be priceless for your premises liability claim.

Document Any Injuries

Just like with the accident scene above, take pictures and videos of any injuries. This includes any kind of mark, bruise, cut, or any other type of injury sustained. 

Keep Records of Everything

Maintain all the records you can, including documents relating to medical treatment and police reports. Additionally, try to save any kind of record relating to the school bus accident in both paper and digital format.

Contact Your Orlando School Bus Accident Attorney

We recommend you contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the school bus accident. That way, you can be sure you have someone to fight for you and protect your rights. At Spetsas Buist PLLC, our personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to victims of school bus accidents.

School Bus Safety Tips

Below are tips for a safe school bus ride. Keep in mind that school buses are considered to be the safest way for students to travel. However, children are often hurt getting on and off the school bus. Thus, the American School Bus Council offers some school bus safety tips, which we will discuss below.

At the Bus Stop

  • Arrive early at the bus stop. Try to get to the school bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • Stand at least 6 feet (approximately 3 giant steps) away from the curb while waiting for the bus.
  • Supervise young children carefully.

Around the Bus

  • Cross in front of the bus rather than behind the bus, and you should try to keep a distance of at least 10 feet (or 5 giant steps). Also, be sure and try to make eye contact with the driver before crossing. That way, the driver knows you’re there.
  • Be sure to never walk behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Do not try to pick up the item you dropped.

Getting on and off the Bus

  • Wait until the school bus is stopped and the door is open before approaching the bus or standing up on the bus.
  • Use the handrails when available to maintain stability.
  • Secure any loose or hanging objects, including backpack straps or drawstrings on a hood.

Behavior on the Bus

  • If seatbelts are available, buckle up.
  • Stay in your seat, and keep your head, arms, and objects inside the bus.
  • Talk quietly.
  • Keep aisles clear of bags, books, snacks, and any other objects.

Do You Need to Speak to an Experienced School Bus Accident Attorney?

When you’re facing a financial burden caused by another party’s negligence, you need an attorney who will fight for you like family. Spetsas Buist is based in Orlando but serves clients in all of Florida, as well as in South Carolina and North Carolina. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.