In the state of Texas, there are approved seat belt laws for school bus safety. According to the new regulations, all buses manufactured after 2018 must-have 3-point seat belts. What took so long for our elected officials?
There is one additional safety element that all buses must have – a sensor.
Sensors have been a standard option on automobiles for since 2007.. They are situated at the corners and in the back of the vehicle. When the bus is within a few feet of an object– or when someone walks by – the sensors start ‘beeping,’ and then give a constant beep within a foot of collision. Bus drivers may rely on these since they assure that not only do they have enough room to maneuver, but they also let the bus driver know when they don’t.
A lawsuit in which a school bus driver let students off at a stop was recently settled. Unaware that one of the children had dropped his book, the child stooped down in front of the bus to grab it. The driver was unaware the child had stooped down in front of the bus and was inadvertently hit by the bus when it started up again.
School Bus Safety Sensors
A sensor should be required, not optional, in buses and vehicles that are intended and operated for continuous passenger loading and unloading. The purpose of sensor safety features is to keep passengers safe. It never assumes that humans are perfect or that the automobiles they drive are completely safe. A school bus safety feature is intended to avoid accidents – or to reduce injuries – in circumstances where we anticipate someone will do something or fail to do something – negligently or not – causing harm to someone or something.
School Bus Safety Seat Belts
Seat belts are required not because accidents do not occur, but because they do. The fact that it was ‘the other guy’s fault’ doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. We have seat belts because we wish to reduce injuries and/or avoid death, regardless of who is at blame. When our greatest efforts or other school bus safety measures fail to prevent an accident entirely, our lives are filled with efforts to mitigate the consequences of the tragedy.
Cost is a crucial factor in most risk vs. benefit analyses for school bus safety features. Sensors are inexpensive. This is especially true given the small size of many of the schoolchildren that move about the outsides of buses. When a safety measure can be added quickly and inexpensively and prevents significant injury or death, it should not be considered optional.
Because we as parents have not raised our voices loudly enough on this subject, sensors are not always required in every school district. We can, and should, do far better.
Avoiding School Bus Stop Accidents As A Driver
Studies conducted in cities across the country have found that over half of all school bus accidents are preventable. There are a handful of simple actions drivers can take to avoid causing a school bus accident while behind the wheel. Precautions include:
- Putting down cell phones, makeup, food, etc. while driving
- Obeying posted speed limits
- Remaining vigilant at or approaching a bus stop (children are unpredictable and you never know when a child will dart across the street)
- Allowing space between you and the bus so that children can safely enter and exit the vehicle
School Bus Safety For Parents & Students
In addition to taking precautions while driving, parents are also encouraged to talk to children about school bus safety. Students should be reminded of proper school bus etiquette including:
- Never assume that a driver of a vehicle is paying attention
- Looking both ways before crossing the street
- Standing away from the curb while waiting for the bus
- Walking at least 10 feet from the front of the bus before crossing the street
- Never crossing the street from behind the bus
If you have not already done so, you should take the time to go over bus stop safety with your child. If you can make the time, walk your young children to and from the bus stop and wait with them until the bus arrives. Your child will be able to pick up on important safety precautions when walking with you.
Contact McKay Law For School Bus Accident Help
If you have a family member or loved one you believe has suffered an injury as a result of a school bus accident, contact McKay Law to review your case and learn if you have a viable cause of action against the school district, bus driver, school bus maker or insurance company.