School Bus Safety

With school back open there are thousands of school buses back on Florida roads transporting tens of thousands of school children to and from school. While parents hope their kid’s ride to school is totally safe and without incident, school bus accidents are more common than you might realize.  In most cases school bus drivers are excellent operators of their vehicles and follow all road traffic laws and signs. Other drivers are not as observant of our traffic laws which may result in a car versus bus accident.

For a free legal consultation, call (800) 747-3733

If Your Children Rides a Bus To School

Now that school is open, whether your child is riding the bus for the first time or a school bus riding veteran, you need to prepare them for a safe trip.  When it’s a new experience, you need to help them navigate their new adventure.   Here’s a plan to help insure a safe school year:

  1. Plan Ahead – there are books like The Bus For Us, School Bus and How Do Dinosaurs Go To School that you can read to your kids about getting riding a school bus. This will help them become familiar with the procedure.
  2. Create A Regular Routine – Review the rules, get to the bus stop in plenty of time, have them sit with an older sibling or friend if possible with book or something to read while on the bus.
  3. Safety First – Remain seated at all times, never stick hands or heads out of the window, stay quiet so the driver can focus on the road, and no horseplay that can cause injuries.

What Drivers Can Do To Avoid An Accident With A School Bus

Obey the Laws

All drivers should follow the rules of their local roads which include obeying all signs that are on a school bus. Drivers of all vehicles must always stop whenever a bus stops and has its red lights flashing.  Additionally, drives should increase the distances that they are following a school bus because of the many, and sometimes unpredictable stops, a school bus makes.

On January 1st, 2021, a new bill went into effect in Florida.  It’s 2020-64 “School Bus Safety” (Florida Statute 318.18) which increases the minimum civil penalty for failure to stop for a school bus from $100 to $200.  For a subsequent offense within five years, FLHSMV must suspend the driver license of the driver for not less than six months and not more than one year. The bill also increases the minimum civil penalty for passing a school bus on the side that children enter and exit from $200 to $400. For a subsequent offense within five years, FLHSMV must suspend the driver license of the driver for not less than one year and not more than two years.

In Florida, like it is in all 50 states, it is illegal to pull around a bus when it has its red flashers on and students are entering or exiting the school bus. As the 10-15 feet of space around the bus are the most dangerous for children, make sure to give the bus a wide berth at all times.

Being an Alert Driver Can Help Prevent Accidents When Buses are Out

With the school year open drivers should aware that school buses are on the road and normal routines are altered. 

All motorists have a role in preventing accidents between cars and school buses.

Example Of School Bus Being Rear Ended By A Van In Punta Gorda:

Six Students, Driver Injured In A Charlotte County School Bus Crash

Six students and their driver were transported to Bayfront Health in Punta Gorda with minor injuries after their school bus crashed in Charlotte County.

Authorities said the crash happened in the early morning on Jones Loop Road near US-41.

According to Charlotte County Fire and Emergency Medical Services, 24 students were on board when a utility van rear-ended the bus, which was headed to Punta Gorda Middle School.

The bus was stopped at a railroad track, which is required by law.

The driver and the six students received minor injuries.

Officials said the bus was damaged but was able to be driven away from the crash. The van was towed.

Another school bus arrived to transport the remaining, uninjured students to middle school.

The injured driver and six students remain in hospital care.

According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office, the driver of the van has been cited for failure to use care, punishable by a fine and also four points on one’s driving record because an accident occurred.

“Fortunately there were not any serious injuries. But at the end of the day, it was distracted driving,” said CCSO public information officer Claudette Bennett. “The fact that this was a school bus and there were kids involved, makes it a lot more traumatizing. We just always have to think that that could be our child on that bus.”

What To Do If Your Child Was Involved In An Accident While On A School Bus

The first step in pursuing a school bus accident claim is to reach out to an experience attorney who can help guide you through the many questions that you will have about the legal process and potential compensation for your medical bills and other possible claims.  An attorney will investigate to determine who caused the accident and who is responsible.  They will review accident reports, speak to witnesses and other evidence to determine accident fault. They will ensure that all filing deadlines are met, including notice requirements for claims against the government.

Accidents involving buses sometimes have one or more drivers involved.  This means that there are times that multiple insurance companies will be involved.  Our team of lawyers will negotiate with all parties at fault, and their insurance companies, with the goal to reach a settlement agreement without ever having to go to an actual trial.  If they cannot reach an agreement that provides you with the compensation that you deserve, they will then pursue your financial recovery in court.

In an accident involving a school bus? The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Can Help.

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Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation.