The school bus is the safest vehicle on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, school bus stops are not safe places. In November 2018, three fatal accidents in and around school bus stops highlighted the serious dangers to children and the need to take care when approaching and leaving the school bus.
Students have been killed in school bus accidents in Georgia. However, drivers in and around the school bus stop pose greater dangers. Drivers killed five kids and seven more were injured in the space of three days at bus stops in November.
In rural Indiana, a driver hit and killed a 9-year-old and her twin 6-year-old brothers as they crossed the road to their bus stop. Another student was seriously injured.
Police charged a 24-year-old driver with three counts of felony reckless homicide and misdemeanor passing a school bus with the arm extended.
A driver hit and killed a 9-year-old north of Tupelo, Mississippi, as he crossed the highway to board a school bus.
In central Pennsylvania, a 7-year-old boy from Franklin Township was found dead at the roadside after he was run over by a slow-moving vehicle, authorities said. Police spoke to a driver who was in the area at the same time.
Students were also injured in and around bus stops in Tampa and Tallahassee, Florida.
The fall and the winter are the most dangerous times to go to school because students are often walking in darkness and drivers have not properly adjusted to the darker mornings and nights.
What to Do When Approaching and Leaving the School Bus
Students should take winter safety tips when approaching and leaving the school bus, including:
- Wear bright colors and have reflective strips on backpacks and clothing when you are walking to the school bus in the dark;
- Plan and use your safest route to the bus stop. Use sidewalks and crosswalks where they are available;
- Don’t be distracted. Put down your electronic devices when you are going to school;
- Don’t linger in subdivisions and at stores;
- When waiting for the school bus, stay away from traffic and avoid horseplay or other behavior that can lead to accidents;
- Do not stray onto the street or private property;
- Line up away from the road as the bus approaches;
- Wait until the school bus has stopped and the door opens before approaching the bus;
- Use the handrail when boarding;
- If you have to cross the road in front of the bus, first walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the driver
- Make sure the driver can see you. Make eye contact.
- Wait for a signal from the driver before crossing.
Drivers must stop behind school buses when their arms are extended and their red lights are flashing. Passing a school bus in Georgia can result in a fine of up to $1,200 and the suspension of your driver’s license for 30 days.
If your child has been hurt by a driver approaching or leaving the school bus, you should seek legal advice. Drivers have a duty to look out for students at school bus stops. Call our Georgia school bus accident lawyers at (404) 913-1529.