Although school bus accidents are not as common as car accidents, they do cause many personal injuries each year. In the 2008-2009 school year alone, 158 school bus accidents took place in Florida. What is even more alarming is that in every case, school bus driver error was determine to be the cause of these accidents. In 28 of these accidents, at least one person sustained a personal injury.
Drivers are repeatedly warned to drive safely around school buses, since school buses carry children. However, this latest statistics suggests that while drivers may be getting the message, school bus drivers may require added regulations. In many of the 158 school bus accidents in Florida last school year, driver error resulted when a school bus driver failed to yield right of way. In some cases, driver mistakes – such as an illegal turn – caused the accident.
School bus accidents are an especial cause of concern because these larger vehicles can cause a great deal of damage. A school bus filled with students can weigh 40,000 pounds, while most empty school buses can weigh up to 28,000 pounds. In comparison, most passenger vehicles weigh 5,000 pounds or less. In a car accident involving a school bus, the passengers in a car are very likely to be harmed.
Also, most school buses do not have seat belt systems for students. In a car accident involving a school bus, the passengers of a car may be injured, but children inside a bus may also be jostled and may sustain serious injury. Children can easily fall in a bus that has hit a car, and these falls can result in head injuries, broken bones, and other injuries. As well, the trauma and fear that these children experience can last some time.
Obviously, school districts and schools have an obligation to hire safe drivers. If a school bus driver is found to have an unsafe driving record, a school district may be held liable or partly liable for any injuries the driver causes. The driver will generally also be held liable for any injuries caused by reckless driving.