Millions of children ride a school bus to and from school every day, usually without incident. School buses are built with safety in mind, and there are traffic laws that regulate the way that people drive around school buses intended to minimize the risk of an accident. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that riding the bus is the safest way for students to get to and from school.
Unfortunately, school bus accidents are bound to happen, even in the best of circumstances. There is no way to ensure that other drivers observe the relevant traffic laws, and children loading or unloading from a school bus may be difficult to see. In addition, children are more prone to unpredictable behavior such as running out into the street or stopping in an intersection than adults. In many cases, children who are injured in school bus accidents are entitled to compensation for their injuries and other losses. Because of the complicated legal issues that often arise in school bus accident cases, it is important for anyone whose child has been affected by a school bus accident to discuss their options with an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Teach Your Child Safety Tips to Minimize the Risk of Injury
Fortunately for children who ride the bus, there are certain steps that they can take to reduce their risk of being injured in a school bus-related accident. As adults, the best way to help our children stay safe is to start educating them about school bus safety as soon as possible. Below is some of the safety advice that the Georgia Department of Education shares with students and parents of students who ride the bus to and from school.
Prior to Getting on the Bus
- Be ready on time;
- Have all items in book bag before leaving;
- Wait at the bus stop, at least 12 feet from the street;
- Wait for the bus in an orderly group and form a line as the bus approaches;
- Do not board the bus with headphones on or while looking at an electronic device; and
- Never chase after the bus if you have missed it.
Stay Out of the Danger Zone
The 12-foot area around a school bus is a particularly dangerous area referred to by the Georgia Department of Education as the “danger zone.” In this area, it is extremely difficult for the school bus driver or other drivers to see you, so it is important to spend as little time in the danger zone as possible. Some of the specific advice recommended by the Department of Education includes:
- Specifically, stay away from the tires and front door of the school bus;
- Make sure you can always see the driver when you are outside of the bus;
- If you have forgotten something, do not try and reboard the bus without getting the bus driver’s permission;
- Be aware of cars that fail to stop at a bus stop; and
- Avoid any distractions while you are in the danger zone.