Autumn was a deadly season for children riding the school bus. Accidents around the country killed or severely injured children because drivers did not stop as is required by state law. Around the country, many people are outraged, and as reported by the Miami Herald, there is now a petition calling on the federal government to take action.
A Widespread Problem
Some of the more horrific accidents have included:
- Three children killed in Indiana when a driver ran into them. A fourth child was injured.
- A nine-year-old trying to board a school bus was struck in Marietta, Mississippi.
- A seven-year-old boy killed by a hit-and-run driver at a bus stop.
- Five children struck by a car at a bus stop in Tampa and injured.
According to the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a little over 100 students were killed in school transportation accidents from 2006 to 2015. Most were caused by the school bus, but around 37 were caused by other drivers.
The Federal Petition
In every state, it is illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped and has its lights flashing. However, many concerned parents do not think that state law is sufficient to act as a deterrent. As reported by the Miami Herald, parents have started a petition asking the federal government to get involved.
According to the petition, the federal government should make it a crime for people to pass a stopped bus, and penalties for a first offense should include 30 days in jail, a 3-month license suspension, and a minimum fine of at least $5,000. Others have criticized the petition, finding it largely duplicative of existing state laws. There is also no reason to assume enforcement will be any better at the federal than at the state level.
Boarding or getting off a bus is much more dangerous than actually riding on the bus, so parents should discuss safety with their children several times a year. Experts recommend that you teach your children the following:
- They should stand at least 3 big steps away from the curb as they wait for the bus.
- They should wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before heading out to board.
- If your child needs to cross in front of the bus, they should only do so if they can see the driver. They should also make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
- Children should always look both ways before crossing the street.
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, we wish all families a safe New Year. If your child has been struck, however, legal help might be available. We are personal injury attorneys who represent injured families in Miami, and you can reach us by calling 305-371-2692.