According to the US Government Accountability Office(GAO), from 2000-2014 there was an average of 115 fatal school bus crashes in the United States each year. In the Tampa Bay area, the number of school bus accidents is on the rise. When we put our child on a school bus, we trust that they will safely arrive at school and safely come home again. School bus drivers should have specialized driver training and exercise extraordinary care to ensure the safety of their young passengers and other motorists or pedestrians. But sometimes things don’t go as planned due to either the negligence of a driver, defects in the bus, or negligence on the part of a school district.
A school bus driver who drives aggressively, speeds, or drives while distracted or impaired should be held liable if this dangerous negligence results in an accident with injuries. School bus drivers have a responsibility to exercise the utmost care to ensure the safety of the children on the bus as well as other drivers and passengers on the road. Other drivers on the road can also be negligent and cause a school bus accident.
Roadways that are improperly maintained or poorly designed can also result in serious school bus accidents.
Improper Screening and Training of Drivers
In addition to keeping your child safe while at school, the school district has a responsibility to keep your child safe while they are transported on a school bus. A school district should adequately screen bus drivers and make sure they have clean driving records. School districts should also ensure that all drivers are properly licensed and pass a drug screening.
Once drivers are hired, the district has a duty to make sure that they are appropriately trained. School bus drivers are required to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a special School Bus (S) designation. This designation is given to drivers who pass a written exam and skills test. School bus drivers must also have Passenger (P) designation on their license which also requires a written and skills test.
Driving a school bus can present some unique challenges for a driver. Given the number of children on most buses, it can be easy for a driver to become distracted. School districts should provide training to drivers on how to handle these potential distractions and safely drive with a bus full of rowdy students. In addition, school bus drivers should also be trained on how to handle safety issues to protect students.
Improper Maintenance of the School Bus
School districts must ensure that buses are properly maintained and inspected on a regular basis. Drivers are required to inspect the bus daily to ensure that it is in good working order. Any failure to properly maintain or inspect the bus could have deadly consequences.
Defects in the School Bus
Sometimes an accident can be caused by a defect in the design or manufacturing of the bus. In those cases, the manufacturer of the bus can be held liable in a product liability case.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk onlineor call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.