The School Bus “Danger Zone”

As unbelievable as it may sound, there are a large number of fatal accidents which continue to occur in this country involving students while getting on and off the school bus.

According to published figures from the Kansas Department of Transportation and other sources confirm that fatalities and injuries in the loading and unloading zone, rightfully called the ‘danger zone’, accounted for 13 fatal accidents, involving K-12 school children. Of the 13 fatalities, 7 occurred behind the bus and 6 were killed by a passing motorist.

Pedestrian fatalities at the ‘danger zone’ are three times as many as school bus occupant fatalities. This makes the time of getting on and off the school bus, one of the most potentially dangerous part of the bus ride.

The reason why the ‘danger zone’ is potentially so hazardous is because this is the area on all sides of the bus where the children are not seen by the driver (ten feet in front of the bus where the driver may be seated too high or ten feet on either side of the bus where a child may be in the driver’s blind spot, and the area behind the school bus).

Considering the rise in such fatalities there have been several mandatory product and design changes in school buses implemented. For instance, the federal rule requires all new buses to have an 8-amp lamp warning system and stop signal arm.

While the number of such accidents in the ‘danger zone’ has significantly reduced over the years, the School Transportation Section of the National Safety Council recommends that training on various aspects of getting on and off the bus should be given both to pupils and students.

Here are some simple guidelines which you could train your child while he is getting ready to get on and off his school bus:

– Avoid any rowdy behavior while waiting for the bus. Stay calm and do not stray on to the streets.

– Remain away from the street as the bus approaches.

– After entering the bus, find a seat and sit down.

– Keep your head, neck and arms inside the bus.

– When the school arrives, wait for the bus to come to a complete halt before getting up from the seat.

– Keep the aisle of the bus clear of clutter.

– Walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, if you have to cross the road in front of the bus.

– Wait for the driver to give you the ‘walk’ signal before you start to cross the road.

– While crossing the road, keep your eyes for oncoming traffic.

– Always stay away from the rear wheels of the bus.

School Bus Safety Tips

Every year, big yellow buses take to the roads from August to May to pick up children and take them to and from school. Riding the bus is a great way for kids to get to know neighborhood children as well as classmates. However, if the bus driver acts erratically or drives recklessly, it can put your son or daughter in serious danger due to the lack of seat belts and other safety features on a bus.

First, many people place their faith-and kids-in a bus because it is large and slow. While this does decrease the risk of accidents, not all bus drivers handle their vehicles safely. Thus, it is important to teach your kids certain safety protocol as well as remain aware to any problems that you may notice while putting your kid on a bus.

Next, ask your child about how kids act on the bus. Although school buses do not have seat belts, it is still important for children to remain seated at all times. If your child stands up or walks around while the bus is driving, a sudden stop or impact can throw your child to the floor. Additionally, it is also good for children to avoid standing or kneeling on seats, which can also prevent then from staying in their seats during an accident.

In addition, ask your son or daughter if children are disruptive on the bus, throwing things, yelling, and roughhousing. These actions can distract the bus driver, preventing him or her from giving complete attention to the road.

Also, when you put your child on the bus, make sure that there are no straps hanging from his or her backpack or lunchbox. Tragically, sometimes straps have been caught on bus steps or in school bus doors, which can lead to a child being dragged by a bus.

Bus drivers are responsible for the lives and safety of all the children on the bus. However, if they fail in their duty to you and your innocent son or daughter, they can seriously injure your child.

School Bus Injury May Be Grounds For Legal Case

Everyday parents walk their children to the bus stop and watch as the big yellow bus pulls away with their most prized possession. Although most parents feel safe with their children riding the bus, every year there are cases of bus related injuries.

One of the current issues revolving around school buses is the bus driver being on the phone. In some states, it is illegal to talk on the phone and drive. It is obvious in these states that the bus driver should not be doing this. However, does a state law really matter? Shouldn’t a bus driver’s focus be on the road and the safety of its passengers?

If your child is injured an in accident due to a bus drivers negligence then you may be able to get compensation. However, injuries do not just occur due to accidents. If a bus driver stops too fast, turns too sharply or takes a bump too fast your child may be injured. If your child is injured in one of these situations, you may have a personal injury case. However, these cases are more difficult to prove. The biggest difficulty around bus related injuries is that it is your child’s word versus that of the bus driver, who is a grown and supposedly responsible adult.

If you have a child riding a school bus, then you should talk to them about their behavior while waiting for the bus, while on the bus, and getting off the bus. The bus driver will probably talk to them about the bus’ rules, but your voice will have more of an impact. It is important to talk to you children about staying seated and facing forward. If there is an accident and your child is facing backwards or standing up they are more likely to be more severally injured.

Please do not let this article scare you; buses are still a safe way for your children to get to school. You just need to be aware of the possibility of injury while riding a bus and know that you may be able to file a personal injury suit if the bus driver’s negligence leads to your child’s injury.

If your child has been injured while riding on a school bus, then you may want to talk to a personal injury attorney or an auto accident attorney. Lastly, if you notice the bus driver doing something that you think they shouldn’t, like talking on a cell phone, then you should contact the school district. As will most personal injuries, awareness can make a huge difference.

With over 20 years experience, Reno Personal Injury Attorney Steve Hess has been representing individuals in auto accident, slip and fall, personal injury, wrongful death, and motorcycle accident cases.

Safety Reminders in Avoiding a School Bus Accident

A Bus Driver’s Duty of Care

Every vehicle driver has his duty to implement strict precaution to protect the welfare and safety of his passengers. This is especially when he is driving a vehicle with children on board. Not only it is his professional responsibility, but also it is his legal accountability if in case someone got hurt on travel.

In particular, school bus drivers carry a big responsibility of assuring a safe ride for students going to and from their school. It is then a must for these drivers to be prudent at all times to avoid accidents that may cause severe injuries to even deaths.

Yet, if bus driver’s negligence to this duty has been found the “proximate cause” of harm and damages sustained by any of his passengers, the injured parties may seek suitable compensation to cover their expenses and other losses suffered. In pursuing a claim, a bus accident lawyer’s advice and representation could be vital in achieving successful result.

School Bus Safety Information for Students

For the parents of schoolchildren, it is a primordial concern to ensure the safety of their children. Thus, it will be helpful for them to inform their children on issues involving bus safety. Doing this effort could detach their young from the serious effects of a tragic bus accident.

Following are some of the bus accident prevention tips that students exercise:

Stay clear of the bus and wait for it to make a full stop before getting aboard. Since there are many areas around the bus wherein the drivers have limited or zero visibility, it is extremely dangerous to stay on its track while waiting for it to stop.
Be aware of other vehicles when boarding or getting off a bus. Some other drivers may not be responsible enough to stop while children are boarding or getting off the bus. It is also possible that these other motorists will not notice children crossing the street.
Follow the driver’s instructions and stay disciplined while riding the bus. Many accidents occur due to driver distractions. If the children on board the bus are unruly and noisy, chances are the driver’s attention may be disturbed.
Sit in an orderly manner facing the front. Numerous school buses are not equipped with seatbelts to protect its passengers. Hence, it would be dangerous for these children to roam around the bus while it is moving. However, staying properly seated in the bus will lessen the effects of an accidental impact because of the reinforced seat backs that compartmentalize its passengers.
Never get under the bus for any reason. Even if you have something to retrieve, it will be safer to let the driver do it for you or just wait for the bus to go before you get it.

Legal Issues in a Bus Accident

As the law indicates, any person who may have been harmed due somebody else’s carelessness or imprudent action may invoke his right to recover damages. However, in filing a claim against the party liable, it is much wiser to ask assistance from bus accident lawyers who are more knowledgeable about the procedures in pursuing a claim.

A victim who does not understand the legal issues involved in a bus accident may have trouble in seeking for justice. Bus accident lawyers have the proper skills in engaging with the procedures set by the law in damages recovery.

To help you with vehicle accident issues such as school bus accidents, you can seek the assistance of our skilled and experienced bus accident lawyers You can visit our website and avail of our free case analysis.

Rainier is currently among the proud members of the Mesriani Law Group that serves clients in Los Angeles, California. He was tasked to write articles and legal contents to further enhance the knowledge of the internet users regarding Personal Injury, Labor Law, Business Law and Social Security Disability.

School Bus Accidents – Rare, But Still an Issue

The accident rate for school buses is thankfully, very low. Considering the sheer volume of school buses that transport children to and from school daily, school buses are relatively very safe. This is probably due in part to their large size and design, and the lower speeds in which they tend to travel. However, motor vehicle accidents do still occur on school buses, and when they do, the consequences can be overwhelming for everyone involved.

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science and Engineering reports that there are approximately 6,000 injuries and 20 deaths annually in the USA due to school bus accidents.

School bus designs have not been changed since 1977, which means that many of them are not equipped with seat belts. Although 3 states – New York, New Jersey and Florida – require new buses to have seat belts, only New Jersey and Florida actually require riders to use them. Safety advocates have been fighting to make seat belts and seat belt usage a standard in all new buses across the country.

Out of the estimated 20 deaths that occur annually due to school buses, an incredible 15 of them are due to children being run over by the buses in the process of boarding or exit them. Safety laws have been implemented in all states to remedy this problem, but pedestrian accidents still remain.

The issues surrounding school bus accidents can become quite complicated. Personal Injury Lawyers / Accident Attorneys who have experience with liability laws can be very helpful in sorting out the legal matters surrounding this type of accident. Many factors must be taken into consideration when deciding fault in a school bus accident. Although infrequent, school bus accidents do occur, and a lawyer specializing in school bus accidents can help determine the negligent party and assess any damages that may be claimed.

New York Personal Injury Lawyers

Goidel and Siegel handle personal injury cases exclusively, and their knowledge of this area of the law is extensive. They have represented victims of serious accidents and assaults for more than 17 years. Goidel and Siegel are committed to obtaining the highest financial compensation for their clients who have been seriously injured.

School Bus Seat Belt Safety Debate

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Across the nation, laws have been passed that require drivers and passengers of both commercial and private motor vehicles to buckle their seat belts while in the automobile. These laws were designed to protect the occupants of the vehicle in the event of a collision; however, no such law has been passed concerning seat belt safety on school buses. This seems shocking considering that 60% of people involved in automobile collisions experience serious injuries, not to mention the growing number of automobile collisions that occur each year. This issue begs the question: if we pass laws to protect children in regular automobiles, why would we not do the same for school buses?

The issue seems surprisingly difficult to resolve and has been contested for many years. Advocates of installing seat belts in school buses point out the fact that children are required to wear seat belts when in cars driven by their parents, so it only makes sense that they should be required to wear a seat belt while riding in a bus driven by another adult. The National Coalition for School Bus Safety has fought for tougher regulations for many years and has been successful in some regards. In 1987, New York passed legislation requiring “lap” belts on all new school buses and became the first state to adopt school bus seat belt safety laws. New Jersey and Florida soon followed and passed similar laws soon after New York. California also became involved in the ongoing argument for seat belts and passed legislation that required the use of three point, or shoulder belts, on all new buses.

Those opposing seat belts in school buses used a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to prove their point. The study found that two point seat belts, or lap belts, actually increased the risk of neck and abdominal injuries in an accident. Shoulder belts fared slightly better, showing safety benefits if worn correctly. Opponents of school bus seat belt legislation argue that children are unlikely to wear shoulder belts correctly, rendering them ineffective to protect the children properly.

Safety aside, both advocates and opponents of such regulations need to also consider the economic cost of installing seat belts on school buses. It is estimated that the California three-point belt law would cost schools an extra $1,500 to $1,800 per vehicle. Some people have expressed concerns that higher prices for school buses may deprive more children of bus service since some schools will simply not be able to afford as many seat belt equipped buses.

Accidents involving large vehicles like buses have the potential to seriously injure those involved. If you or someone you love has been a victim of a bus accident, it is vital that you contact an attorney immediately to discuss your legal rights. A skilled bus accident attorney will assist you in organizing an effective lawsuit against those who have caused you harm.

How to Stay Out of the School Bus Danger Zone

Boarding and exiting a school bus can be dangerous for children since they are so close to cars that could potentially cause an accident. By leading by example and teaching your children these simple safety tips, you can help to reduce the risk of your children being injured by the school bus or other vehicles.

1) Go to the bus stop 5 minutes ahead of time. It can be very dangerous if your child decides to start running to the bus stop since it can lead to serious injuries.

At the bus stop, make sure that you stand at least 10 feet away from the road. This is equal to about five giant steps for children. This ensures that the bus driver can see them and that they are out of the roadway.

3) Do not board the bus before the bus driver tells you to. Make sure that the bus is completely stopped, the door is open, and the bus driver tells you it is okay to come in, before approaching the bus.

4) Safely cross the street. Look both ways to check for oncoming traffic and cross the road at least 10 feet in front of the bus so that you can be seen. In addition, look both ways before exiting the bus to make sure that all cars have stopped coming.

5) Be sure that the driver sees you. Even if you can see the bus driver, they may not be able to see you. If you always remain at least 10 feet away from any vehicle, you are considered to be out of the “Danger Zone.”

6) Use handrails. Hold onto the handrails so that you do not slip and fall. Loose strings, backpack straps, or anything hanging could get caught in the handrails and cause an accident, so make sure that everything is safely tucked away.

7) When on the side of the bus, make sure that you are ten feet away from it. Again, this keeps you out of the “Danger Zone” and in the driver’s sight.

8) If you drop something near the bus, do not attempt to retrieve it. Let the bus driver know that you dropped something and ask it if it is okay if you go pick it up. This ensures that the bus driver does not drive away while you are not on or too close to the bus.

9) Do NOT walk behind the bus. The bus driver probably will not see you, which could cause a devastating accident.

After getting on the bus, sit in your seat as quickly as possible. As a result, all of the children will have enough time to safely board the bus, thus lessening the likelihood of an accident.

The A – Z Of Tips For School Bus Drivers: Handling Disruptive Students

A responsible and reliable school bus driver is dedicated to transporting students safely to and from school. However, part of this depends on the amount of self-disciplined the students passengers display. If the students are acting chaotic and undisciplined on the school bus, the safety of the transportation is in jeopardy and the competence of the driver is questionable. Therefore, in order to assure the safety and security of the students, the school bus driver must play a major role in their lives. A successful bus driver is willing to go beyond the responsibility of transporting students back and fourth.

Types of Deviant Behavior

A school bus driver may encounter a number of deviant behaviors among students, inappropriate language, verbal harassment, horse playing, getting out of seat while bus is moving, throwing objects at others as well as out of the window, stealing other student’s belongings, insubordination and displaying aggressive behavior toward fellow students. This is only a few examples of a chaotic activity. Children left to themselves can become increasingly destructive. Therefore, such chaos must be prevented before students even think of acting them out.

Establishing Bus Rules and Regulations

In order for a bus driver to take immediate control over his bus, he must establish rules and regulations right away. On the first day of pick-up and drop-off, he must clarify his expectation for each student rider without hesitation. Once students are aware of your expectations and your willingness to enforce them, they will usual think twice about acting up on the school bus. If you do not have a school bus monitor, you must be observant even while driving. Glancing into the rear view mirror to catch potential rule breakers will have to be done. A successful school bus driver is always aware of what’s going on.

Confronting Deviant Behavior

Confront misbehavior instantly. Do not let anything slide. Letting little minor incidents slide by will only create greater problems for everyone on the bus. Issue a warning no more than two times before threatening a right-up and phone call home. Your immediate response to rule violations determines whether or not a student will take your authority seriously. When students see you persistently enforcing the school bus rules, many will abide by your expectations.

Displaying Strength of Character

In addition, in order to successfully manage a school bus, a bus driver must be strong in character, refusing to give an inch to students who are bent on making life miserable. Backing down from a student’s misbehavior or permitting them to bully other students can ruin your reputation as a competent school bus manager. Students will take your weakness as an opportunity to do whatever they please without repercussions. To avoid this, a school bus driver must make it absolutely clear who is in control, without reservation.

Engaging In Effective Communication

In order to take control of a school bus, the driver must be able to communicate effective and connect often with his student passengers. He must be willing to do this because he cares not because he is afraid of losing his job. Students seems to know if you really care about their well-being. If you are not sincere about the safety and security of your students, you will reap the consequence of disobedience and challenge as a school bus driver.

Developing a Positive Attitude Toward Students

Develop a positive attitude toward all students. When students know that you care about them, even though some are very challenging, they will begin to respect you and your driving. Some bus drivers give incentives such as pencils and notebooks as well as rewards and letters of excellent behavior to parents and teachers. Whatever you can do to obtain a students trust, do it. But never get angry and react in an unprofessional way toward children. This will only add fuel to the fire, resulting in frustration and confusion.

Are Your Kids Playing It Safe on the School Bus?

Getting your kids to school and back home safely can be a major concern for parents. Safely is the key word. Kids who are taught how to behave on a school bus will do their part to create a safer, nicer travel environment on the bus.

Listen to your school bus driver and obey Bus Rules

Your school bus driver is the person “in charge” on the bus, and will expect bus riders to observe all the safety and bus-riding rules.

Like your teachers and parents, bus drivers are trusted adults who have your safety in mind. Follow their instructions. Don’t argue with the bus driver.

Don’t be afraid to ask the bus driver if you have any questions or concerns.

If you have questions or concerns about the bus driver, tell your parents and teacher.

If there are set Bus Rules on your bus, follow them.

Be respectful to everyone on the bus

Keep your voices down so you can hear the driver’s instructions.

Enjoy the ride. Bus rides are great times to talk with the person in the seat next to you, maybe even a good place to make new friends.

Stay in your seat during the entire ride. Buckle your seat belts properly (if your bus has seat restraints). Use Buckle Guard Seat Belt Covers to hide the seat belt release buttons.

Report bullying and vandalism to the driver and to your parents.

Alert the driver if another child has fallen asleep on the bus.

Be responsible for your own belongings, such as school bags, lunch boxes, electronics, sports equipment, etc.

Be aware of safety in your School Zone

Both adults and kids need to practice “school zone” safety in the outdoor area where kids are getting into cars and buses, riding bikes, or walking home from school. Often this school zones are at the school’s main entrance or main parking lot.

After school, school zones will become crowded and chaotic with students, parents and vehicles. The situation this can quickly become dangerous if people aren’t paying attention to their surroundings and other people.

Obey Street Safety Rules

Know what common street signs mean. Red means “Stop”, Green means “Go”, etc.

Always STOP before stepping onto any street. Don’t ever rush into any street or alleyway mindlessly.

Look both ways when you cross the street.

Cross the street in pedestrian cross walks only.

Listen to the crossing guard, if they are on duty.

Driving Safety Near a School or School Bus

Driving near a school or a school bus can be dangerous if motorists don’t take proper precautions to ensure not just their own safety, but the safety of children in the vicinity. Here’s a guide to help you understand the right protocol to follow as a motorist in a school zone, or near a school bus.

Picking up or dropping off children at school:

Every school has a system to pick up and drop off children. Make sure you educate yourself on the rules of the school and adhere to them
Don’t double park because it reduces visibility for other drivers, and can endanger students
Park in the allotted areas (these have been designed keeping in mind the safety of students), and take permitted turns while navigating the school grounds. Avoid making U-turns and three-point turns.
While driving, watch out closely for children on bikes coming onto the roadway from between parked cars. Also keep a safe distance of at least 3ft between your vehicle and the motorcycle, and always check your side-view mirror before exiting your car
As a rule, ensure that your child is safely buckled in with the seat belt or in an age-appropriate child car seat before starting the car. Also, make sure your child enters or exits the car only via the ‘safety door’ which is the rear door on the kerb-side

Driving in a school zone:

Don’t exceed the 25mph speed limit imposed while driving in school zones. Most often this speed limit is imposed in school zones between 8 a.m. and 9.30 a.m., and 2.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists must adhere to this speed limit even if there are no children in sight
Slow down when approaching a school crossing
Do not proceed past the school crossing until the crossing supervisor’s hand-held sign is no longer displayed, or until he/she indicates that you can continue
If there is no crossing supervisor, but ‘CHILDREN CROSSING’ flags are displayed, the motorist must stop and wait until all the pedestrians have crossed the road
While driving through a school zone, avoid honking as it might scare children and cause them to stumble or fall in the way of oncoming traffic

Driving in the vicinity of a school bus:

Learn to understand the flashing light system on school buses.

If the overhead lights on the bus are flashing yellow, then prepare to stop. These lights indicate that the bus driver is planning to bring the vehicle to a halt to load or unload children.

If the overhead lights are flashing red, and the stop sign extended, it means that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off the bus. At this time all motorists, regardless of the direction in which they are moving, must come to a halt until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign pulled back, and the bus resumes motion. In all 50 states of the U.S., it is mandatory for all vehicles on both sides of the road to come to a halt during this process. However, if a median divides the road, this may not be required.

If you are passing a school bus, make sure that there is plenty of visibility and space in the next lane. It is illegal in the U.S. to pass a bus on the right side, as this is where the loading and unloading of children occurs. Therefore, vehicles may pass the school bus on the left side on multiple lane roadways

Remember, though buses have large mirrors to assist the driver in his/her navigation, these vehicles also have huge blind spots. Stay cognizant of this, and pull back and slow down if you see a bus flash its blinkers, and allow it to move into the next lane.

Be especially vigilant near bus stops. Children may be playing at the bus stop to kill some time, or might be arriving late for their school bus and may inadvertently dart into oncoming traffic.

Bear in mind that buses stop frequently, so maintain at least 3ft distance between your car and the bus, to allow yourself enough time to come to a halt too

Do not park at or near a bus stop. In fact, maintain enough distance between your vehicle and the bus stop to allow children to enter and exit the bus with ease

Always remember that children can behave in an unpredictable, often rash, manner. In their haste or enthusiasm, they may not remember the safety concerns associated with walking on the road or picking up something they’ve dropped on the road. Therefore, it’s important to look very carefully to make sure the way is clear before navigating traffic behind a school bus.

These tips will help you drive in a safe, responsible manner while driving in a school zone, or near a school bus. If you would like to share your thoughts or suggestions of your own, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below!