National School Bus Safety Week is approaching. It’s a great time for parents, teachers, students, school bus drivers and other motorists to join forces in addressing the importance of school bus safety. The 2017 event will be October 16th – 20th and strives to further educate the public on important safety issues. While school bus accidents are rare, they do occur. When one does, it’s important to quickly learn who’s at fault. School bus accident lawyers in AZ & NM can help with this determination and the complicated process of seeking compensation.
School Bus Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) deems school buses the safest form of transportation for your child to get to and from school. Unfortunately, between 2006 and 2015, a total of 1,313 people died in 1,172 school-transportation-related accidents. While this number sounds high, according to the NHTSA, this amount translates to only 0.4 percent of the total accidents for this time period and 72 percent of these fatalities were occupants of other vehicles involved in the crash, not actual school bus occupants.
Causes of School Bus Accidents
Human error causes many school-transportation-related wrecks, especially distracted driving. Texting drivers have increasingly become the prime culprit of accidents, including those involving school buses. Bus accident lawyers in AZ & NM explain state laws that deter bus drivers from joining this trend.
Arizona has struggled to develop legislation regarding distracted driving. Still, it has enacted a ban on hand-held and hands-free cell phone use for AZ school bus drivers. New Mexico issued a 2016 ban with SB 171. It prohibits all commercial drivers, including bus drivers, from using a hand-held mobile device while driving anywhere in the state. Many AZ and NM cities and municipalities have even stricter cell phone use ordinances than the current state laws.
Other common causes of accidents include:
- Driver Fatigue
- Impaired/Intoxicated Driver
- Speeding & Other Violations
- Mechanical Failure
- Driver Inexperience
- Poor Road Conditions
Who’s At Fault?
The process of recovering compensation following a school bus accident may seem complicated, but it starts with learning who was at fault. This could be a negligent bus driver, another negligent motorist or both. Once blame is placed, more than one party may be held liable for any injuries received or death that occurred.
The school bus driver may be at fault, if your child suffered an injury due to a bus driver error that caused the bus to strike another vehicle or object. Children are also sometimes injured or killed after being struck by the bus itself. In these cases, not only can you file a lawsuit against the driver, you can often also file a suit against the school district.
When mechanical failure is the cause, the school district, bus maintenance personnel and the bus manufacturer are often all held accountable.
A negligent third party could also strike the bus causing a wreck. A motorist could also fail to obey bus safety features like flashing red lights and stop signals and strike a child during loading or unloading. In both cases you can recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist and their insurance company.
Hire Top School Bus Accident Lawyers in AZ & NM
If you child was injured in a school bus-related accident, consult with our school bus accident lawyers in AZ & NM who have significant experience dealing with these types of claims. The highly skilled personal injury attorneys at Lerner & Rowe have the knowledge to identify the person liable and the abilities to help you navigate the legal process.
Our office is open from 8 AM to 5 PM. We’re available to take your toll-free call 24/7 at (844) 977-1900. You can use our convenient LiveChat online. We offer free consultations and also will fight for your rights.