Are Florida school buses safe for your child?
There are 23.5 million children who ride a bus to school across the country. You would think that those numbers would result in a high amount of injuries, but according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, it is 70 times safer for your child to ride a school bus as opposed to a passenger vehicle to get to school.
On average, only four to six schoolchildren die due to riding in a school bus each year, and about 100 people overall die in school-bus-related crashes, including drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians. That equals about 0.4 percent of all US traffic fatalities.
Why Are Florida School Buses So Safe?
There are several reasons that school buses have such a strong safety record:
- School buses are highly regulated and inspected on a regular basis.
- The large, heavy design of school buses helps prevent injuries and crashes by reducing the crash force as compared to the force in passenger vehicles.
- The seat design in school buses absorbs crash force energy better than that of passenger vehicles.
- School buses are highly visible and easily recognizable on the road.
- School buses have several safety features (like stop-sign arms, cross-view mirrors, and flashing red lights), which aid in injury and crash prevention. Smaller buses also have lap or shoulder belts for additional protection.
- Laws regarding school buses in all 50 states help protect children from getting injured by other vehicles. Drivers are prohibited from passing a school bus when it is picking up or dropping off passengers.
Despite all this, it is still possible for your child to get hurt in a school bus accident. In this post, we’re going to cover how you can increase their likelihood of staying safe, and what you should do if they do suffer injury in an accident because of negligence.
Florida School Bus Safety Tips
Take these precautions to keep your child as safe as possible when riding the school bus.
- Allow enough waiting time before the bus arrives to avoid rushing. Your child should wait at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival time.
- Teach your child to stand at least six feet away from the curb and to refrain from running or playing around at the bus stop.
- Teach your child to pay attention when boarding or exiting a school bus. The greatest risk for injury is not when the bus is in motion, but when your child is on the street. Your child should watch for any oncoming traffic that may not stop even with the flashing lights and protective arm.
- When exiting the bus, have your child use the handrails for extra stability.
- Tell your child not to leave the bus until it comes to a complete stop.
- If your child drops something on the road, tell him or her not to pick it up, but do let the bus driver know right away. If the bus driver knows about the situation, he or she can wait while your child picks up the item and have greater visibility, which reduces your child’s risk of injury.
When Negligence Results in a Florida School Bus Injury
Here’s the good news: if the bus is involved in a crash, your child is much safer inside the bus rather than outside of it. Statistics show that people outside the bus are three times more likely to die in a bus crash than bus drivers or passengers.
However, if your child is injured in one of those rare bus accidents, it’s important to seek medical care immediately and contact a Florida bus injury attorney to learn your rights and understand what options you have to secure needed compensation.
Don’t let the overall stellar safety record of school buses deter you from fighting back. Don’t pay for another’s negligence. Protect the future of your child and your family.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.