Earlier this month, Florida Highway Patrol responded to an accident involving a Nissan Altima and a school bus. The driver of the Altima, Cynthia Ann Wade, sustained serious injuries but was released from the hospital the following day. The driver of the school bus, as well as the three children on board, left the scene of the crash unscathed.
Preventable Bus Accidents Are on the Rise
A study conducted in 2017 by the Department of Transportation found that there are, an average, 486 school bus accidents every year in the state of Florida. And data compiled over the course of the last five years shows an increase in school bus accidents in all but one county that was studied.
Officials place blame on both bus drivers and individual motorists. Many motorists do not give buses the space they need, which can result in dangerous accidents. And because school bus driver compensation is low, many school districts have a difficult time hiring quality drivers. Attorney Michael Maddox, who is currently battling a suit against a Florida School District in relation to a school bus that crashed into a pond with over 25 students on board, suggests training and a more in-depth hiring process would help the issue.
The Main Causes of Bus Accidents
The most common causes of school bus accidents include:
- Bus Driver Negligence– Often times, school bus drivers fail to take the necessary precautions that they should. Because of their large size, coupled with the distractions of loud children on board, school buses take focus and skill to drive safely. Drivers who don’t take safety precautions seriously are putting themselves, as well as everyone else on the road, at risk.
- Bad Weather– Inclement weather makes driving any vehicle more difficult. For school buses, this is magnified. Simple things like turns and quick stops can be a challenge in extremely wet and windy conditions.
- Left Turns– When a school bus makes a left turn, it must often cross into a lane with oncoming traffic. These turns are often made slowly. If other drivers aren’t paying attention, accidents can occur.
- Blind Spots– While all vehicles have blind spots, the blind spots on school buses are much larger. No matter how cautious a bus driver is, if other vehicles aren’t aware of these blind spots, accidents can happen very easily.
- Negligence on Behalf of the Bus Company– Because hiring experienced school bus drivers is often a difficult process, companies will sometimes cut corners during the hiring process, or hire unqualified drivers. Lack of experience is a main culprit in many accidents, school bus accidents included.
Have You Been Injured in A Bus Accident?
Bus accidents can cause extreme physical and emotional stress on both victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured in a school bus accident, contact Fetterman & Associates today at (561) 693-3872. Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling bus accident cases, and will work tirelessly to help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve.