Vehicle accidents are quite common, prompting the need for parents, educators, and others, to be concerned about school bus safety. School bus accidents are not common, but when they do occur, they may cause devastating injuries. A recent school bus accident in Tennessee resulted in the death of five children, and many more injuries. It is helpful to understand more about bus accidents, and how to help prevent them from occurring.

Causes of Traffic Accidents
Traffic accidents are typically caused by one or more of the following factors:
● Distracted Driving
● Speeding
● Failure to Stop at a Signal
● Poor Weather Conditions
● Driving While Impaired
Drivers may fail to drive in a defensive manner, which may contribute to dangerous circumstances on the road. School bus drivers should be even more cautious than other drivers.

School Bus Driver Safety
School bus drivers must have the proper training and experience before they are allowed to transport our precious children. Most school systems across the country get bus transportation from outside contractors. These contractors are responsible for providing properly trained and vetted drivers. Drivers should be free from previous accidents and tickets, and should be regularly tested for substance use. Buses must be regularly maintained and checked daily before they are driven.

Improving School Bus Safety
School administrators are required to ensure that the bus company consistently provides high quality and safe transportation. There is a controversy around whether school buses should have seat belts. While some already do, most buses do not. Some argue that seat belts could be detrimental in trying to remove students after a crash. Others, however, think that seat belts would protect children from serious injuries in major accidents.

For example, in the Tennessee accident, many children were seriously hurt, or killed, when they were thrown about the bus as it rolled over and hit a tree. The cause of the accident is under investigation, but speed is thought to have been a factor. Had the children been wearing seat belts, they may not have sustained head injuries, broken bones, and other severe medical problems. Although the seat belt issue is still under debate, there are some school districts across the country that provide buses with seat belts to their riders.

Report School Bus Concerns
Parents should bring any concerns regarding poor school bus driving to the attention of the school principal. When possible, address the concern in writing, and request a response. All potential problems should be investigated by authorities. Discuss school bus safety with your child, and encourage him to let you know if any problems occur. Certainly, every reported problem should be adequately reviewed and discussed with the transportation provider.

If your child was injured as the result of a bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The cause of the crash must be determined and the responsible party held liable for any resulting damages. Contact the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to schedule a consultation to discuss your case today.


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