Back to School: How Safe are School Buses Really?

More than 23 million children ride buses to and from school every year. These children range in ages from 5-year-old kindergartners to 17-year-old seniors in high school. However, unlike passenger vehicles, the majority of school buses aren’t equipped with seat belts or airbags to protect these children when an accident occurs. With so few safety features, you would think that school buses were inherently dangerous. However, this isn’t the case.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are 70x safer than passenger vehicles. On average only 4 to 6 children die each year due to school bus crashes, and school bus accidents account for just 0.4% of all US traffic fatalities.

However, even though school buses may be safe, accidents still occur. Every year, approximately 17,000 children are treated in emergency rooms because of school bus injuries. More than 40% of these injuries are caused by vehicular accidents. Fortunately, even when accidents do occur, the injuries sustained are relatively minor thanks to school bus design.

 

Safety Around School Buses

The most dangerous area on a school bus is the area 10 feet in front of the bus, 10 feet behind the bus, and 10 feet on either side of the bus. It is in this “danger zone” that children are hit by either the school bus itself or a passing vehicle.

The majority of those children who are hit by vehicles and killed while getting on or off the school bus are children between the ages of 5 and 7 years old. Getting off the bus after school is a prime time for school bus accident fatalities. In fact, the majority of fatal school bus accidents occur in the afternoon between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

To protect children from harm, school bus companies have installed mechanical arms that force children to walk a safe distance away from the bus. In addition, some school buses in Florida even have mounted cameras on their buses to watch for motorists who fail to stop for school buses.

 

Florida School Bus Safety Tips

If your child rides the school bus every day, it is important to take certain precautions to keep them as safe as possible.

  • Arrive at least 5 minutes early to prevent your child from having to rush across the street to catch the bus
  • Teach your child to stand at least 6 feet away from the curb at all times
  • Prevent your child from running or playing around the bus stop
  • Children should be taught to pay attention when getting off or on the bus
  • All school children should be aware of traffic
  • Children should use handrails for additional safety
  • Children should not leave the bus until it comes to a full and complete stop
  • If your child drops something on the road, tell them to avoid picking it up. Instead, teach your child that he or she should tell the bus driver right away.

 

Contact Our Daytona Beach School Bus Accident Lawyers

If a negligent driver injured your child while on their way to or from school, it is important to know that Florida law is on your side.  At Zimmet & Zimmet P.L. our experienced Daytona Beach school bus accident lawyers have extensive experience representing victims involved in auto accidents. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and review of your potential case. Call 386-255-6400 or fill out our confidential contact form, and we can help you through this difficult time.

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