Thankfully, school bus accident statistics are not nearly as horrendous as car crash figures; however, that is not to say the figures do not reveal there are a substantial number of children hurt or killed each year in school bus mishaps. Tony Francis of the Francis Law Firm in Orlando, Florida, is intimately familiar with handling cases such as this.
While one might think of a school bus accident as being a crash with devastating results, a bus accident may also be the result of something else entirely. For instance, getting off the bus is a prime time for children being at risk. School buses make regular stops daily and there are all kinds of potential hazards associated with disembarking. “One of the biggest accidents happens to be if the driver of the bus miscalculates how close the child is to the side of the bus and/or the curb, and while leaving for the next stop, hits the child,” stated Francis.
The second problem is when children get off the bus and then scatter along the side of the bus, with some of them winding up in the driver’s blind spot. No amount of checking prior to leaving that particular stop is going to ensure the driver sees the child in the blind spot.
We’ve all seen this happen as well. The school bus comes to a halt, puts on its signals, opens the door and lets the kids out. The only thing that is stationary here is the bus, while the traffic behind it is still moving toward the bus. This is one of the most dangerous situations for youngsters of any age, as they do not always look before they leap from behind or in front of the bus. Add to this the fact that many drivers do not see the children, as the bus is like a huge behemoth obscuring their vision.
The other area included in bus accident statistics is accidents that happen while the children are riding the bus. “Most school buses, despite the raging controversy over the lack of safety measures to prevent loss of life, are not equipped with seat belts,” explained Francis. Instead the industry relies on something called compartmentalization.
The theory behind compartmentalization is that it is supposed to surround the child with those heavy, padded and reinforced seats. This only works if the kids are seated properly – and how many kids stay sitting in their seats properly? The answer is not many, and in addition, this type of “safety” feature is really not that effective for a sideways impact.
Only a highly qualified school bus accident attorney such as Tony Francis of the Francis Law Firm in Orlando, Florida, will be able to guide parents through the difficult process of ensuring just compensation for a school bus accident injury.