A car accident between multiple passenger vehicles can have terrible consequences, but as parents, one of the most tragic types of collisions we are afraid to even imagine is any type of crash involving a school bus. A school bus accident places a bus full of bright, young lives at risk as well as anyone else who’s onboard or involved in the crash. It’s almost every parent’s nightmare.
Georgia families depend on the state’s Department of Education to safely transport our children to and from school and to and from field trips and sporting events. Our school districts work together with Georgia’s highway and safety patrols to ensure our school bus drivers are capable and experienced. Sometimes, however, tragedy strikes and school bus accidents occur.
Some traffic accidents are just unfortunate accidents and cannot be helped. More times than not, however, someone can be placed at fault. Many of Georgia’s accidents occur due to negligence. Negligence can take the form of anything from failing to properly signal before a turn or slow down during a traffic jam to having a few drinks before getting behind the wheel, checking a social media feed while driving, or not getting enough sleep and driving while drowsy.
School bus crashes are no different. Many occur due to negligence—whether the school bus driver, a driver of a passenger vehicle, or the manufacturer of a school bus are guilty of it. If your child was involved in a school bus crash which caused the children onboard to suffer and/or become injured, it’s natural to wonder if negligence played a role.
Under U.S. laws, citizens have a legal right to file what is known as a personal injury lawsuit against a guilty individual, group, or corporation if negligence played a role in an accident where injuries occurred. This includes school bus accidents.
If you believe your child’s accident was ultimately caused by a negligent driver, a careless driver trainer, or even the manufacturer of a school bus, you need the help of an Atlanta, GA school bus accident lawyer. Together we can discover who caused the accident and ensure other children are not harmed in the same way. First, let’s learn more about school bus accidents in the state of Georgia.
School Bus Accident Statistics
Between the years 2003 and 2014, there were 348,253 traffic collisions that resulted in fatalities in the United States. Of those, 0.35% (1,222) were classified as involving vehicles related to school transportation. This includes school buses as well as non-school buses functioning as school buses that transport students to or from school or school-related functions and activities. On average, this equates to approximately 102 fatal school bus accidents every year.
Even though school bus crash fatalities are rare in comparison to passenger vehicle/truck accident fatalities, stop and think about the numbers for a second. Between those years, 102 school bus accidents every year lead to fatalities. In some of those accidents, multiple children perished. Together, we need to do everything we can to drive this number down even lower. Deaths of young children should never be acceptable—not when most causes can be prevented.
Examining these numbers further, we can begin to see some underlying trends about what causes school bus accident fatalities:
- 71% of the individuals who lost their lives in school bus accidents between the years of 2003 and 2014 were occupants in other vehicles that were involved in the crashes
- Only 8% of the individuals who lost their lives in those same accidents were children on the buses
- The remaining 21% were non-occupants including pedestrians and bicyclists
The fact that a mere 8% of school bus accident fatalities between these years involved children on the buses is reassuring, but we must also consider the fact that many non-occupants were also children. During the period between 2003 and 2014, 119 school-aged pedestrians (younger than 19 years old) died in school-transportation-related accidents.
Examining these statistics further, we find that 65% of those 119 children died after being struck by a school bus. School bus accidents can be tragic for its occupants, but also other children who are walking to school or crossing the street near a school bus.
Common Causes of School Bus Accidents
In the state of Georgia, the Department of Education governs school bus regulations. The council’s main goal is to establish rules to ensure the safety of school bus passengers and minimize school bus crashes (O.C.G.A. § 160-5-3). The Department of Education works with every school district as well as Georgia’s transportation officials to ensure rules are followed and consequences are put into action when mistakes occur.
Some of the most common causes of school bus accidents in Georgia include the following:
- A school bus driver who fails to be aware of their surroundings and causes a crash
- A driver of a passenger vehicle who fails to give proper right-of-way to the bus driver
- Inadequate school bus driver training and/or driving credentials
- A bus driver who violates traffic laws and/or specific bus regulations (this includes driving while distracted/under the influence)
- Driving the bus at a higher speed than is permitted
- Inadequate bus maintenance
- A defective school bus
As you can see, most causes are directly related to negligence. When school buses are not properly maintained and don’t include the latest technological upgrades, they are more prone to causing accidents. Older school bus models may not even feature upgraded mirrors that bus drivers can use to see fully around the bus. This can lead to accidents involving pedestrians. If a defective school bus is found to cause an accident, the manufacturer can be charged with negligence in court.
Similarly, when a school bus driver is not properly trained or simply fails to follow traffic laws, they may be found negligent if they cause an accident. School bus crash claims can be difficult to fight in court since the Department of Education will need to be involved. To succeed with a school bus accident lawsuit, you will need the help of an attorney who is experienced with investigating these types of cases.
Get Expert Help from a Georgia School Bus Accident Lawyer
If your child was injured in a school bus crash and you feel negligence may have played a role, you deserve peace of mind. Georgia’s children deserve better. At Bey & Associates, we can pair you with an Atlanta, GA school bus accident lawyer who understands how to navigate a complicated lawsuit involving our state’s school districts and can help your family move forward. Contact us to learn more.