When we send our children to the school bus stop in Georgia, there’s no way of guaranteeing their ride to school will be safe. School bus accidents do occasionally happen, although they are rare. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,214 motor vehicle crashes lead to fatalities in school transportation-related accidents between the years 2004 and 2013. This amounts to 0.4% of the total fatal crashes during that period.
Despite this low overall percentage, as parents, we do everything we can to protect our children. Relying on strangers to take our children to and from school isn’t an easy feat considering this fact. School bus drivers may have plenty of experience, but accidents happen and sometimes mistakes are made. Knowing this, how can we help protect our children from school bus accidents without driving them to school ourselves? Here are 4 tips:
- Stress the Importance of Safety to Your Children
Safety begins at home. When children are reminded how important school bus safety is, they are less likely to behave in ways that may contribute to a possible accident. Remind them about the importance of listening to the bus driver, remaining seated at all times, and behaving properly while on the bus. Instruct them about the dangers of getting too close to the street while waiting for the bus and the importance of remaining visible to bus drivers when walking around/near a school bus.
- Report Red Flags
If your child notes any unusual behavior that happened on a school bus or shows signs of fear or unease when going near a bus, these may be signs that something is happening that shouldn’t. Most school bus drivers are polite, courteous, and care about the children. Every now and then, however, you hear stories about a driver who acts improperly or fails to stop student bullying. If you ever are concerned for the safety of your child, don’t hesitate to contact the school board or transportation department.
- Supervise Your Children at Bus Stops
When your children are young, walk them to the bus stop and instruct them on where to wait and how to wait. Ensure they stay far away from the curb and hold their hand while near rushing cars. Meet them at the bus stop at the end of the day and make sure they know how to properly exit the bus. A small bit of supervision can go a long way towards keeping a young child safe.
- Prevent Possible Hazards
If you child has any hanging backpack keychains/strings, loose drawstrings on their coats, etc., you may want to remove these items before they enter a school bus. Anything that can get caught on a school bus may serve as a potential hazard when exiting quickly should an accident occur. Make sure your child’s shoelaces are always tied before entering a school bus for the same reason.
By following the above tips, you may not be able to be there with your child every step of the way when they travel to and from school, but you can let them go and relax knowing you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe even when you have no direct control over the possibility of an accident. Prevention is always the safest way to stop accidents before they happen.
If, unfortunately, your child was involved a tragic school bus accident that you believe may have been caused—fully or partially—by negligence or reckless behavior, you may be eligible to file a civil lawsuit against the guilty party. Doing so may make it easier for your family to recover from a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Contact Bey & Associates for more information. Our Georgia law firm can pair you with a skilled and knowledgeable Atlanta, GA school bus accident lawyer who can tell you if you have a possible case on your hands and help you every step of the way. With our help, you and your child can recover.