School is back in session, and Florida parents should be ready for bus rides, field trips, and other activities that put their children in the care of other drivers, Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers say. If your child takes the bus, or plays sports after school, or rides in a carpool, chances are you will have to buckle him or her into a seat and wave as someone else takes them out on the road. Although busses and carpools are convenient and widely-used for parents who do not have time to drop off their children or pick them up as part of their work commute, or families who live on the farthest edges of the district lines, you should be aware of the dangers, and make sure to get an attorney involved immediately should an accident occur.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that an estimated 140-142 school bus-related accidents and fatalities happen every year. In Florida, school busses are mounted with flashing red lights and stop signs that extend on either side, to alert drivers that children will be getting on or off the bus. It is illegal for a driver to pass a bus with its lights on and stop signs out.
Some school busses and vans now have video surveillance cameras mounted inside, as a way to protect both the driver and the children onboard. If your child’s bus is in an accident, police may be able to use these cameras to determine what happened, and who is to blame. Often, especially with younger passengers, several different stories of an incident can confuse the facts. Additionally, a case may come down to your child’s word against the adult bus driver’s, and a recorded video of the event may help you and the investigators in getting answers.
If the bus driver is to blame, often the school can be held responsible, along with the company that is employed to provide the busses. The school is responsible for the safety of your children from the minute they get on the bus in the morning to the minute that they are dropped off in the afternoon. This responsibility extends to school-sponsored field trips and sporting events that use busses for travel, even if the trips are made before or after school hours, or on the weekends.
The bus stop that has been designated for your child may also pose a risk, depending on where it is and what is around it. Children who are walking to and from the stop in the morning, or who walk to a school, are at risk of injury from drivers, especially if the route has blind corners, four way stops, high-traffic zones, no sidewalks, or other dangerous features. If you feel that your child’s bus stop is unsafe to walk to, contact an attorney. You may be able to petition the school or the bus company to change the route, so that your children can wait at a safer stop.
At the Law Offices of David I Fuchs, our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys want to keep kids safe this year as they go back to school. If you have concerns about your child’s bus route, or if your child has been injured during a school trip, contact David Fuchs for a consultation today.