It's Back to School Time - Be Extra Careful on the Road

It’s Back to School Time – Be Extra Careful on the Road

It's Back to School Time - Be Extra Careful on the Road

Whether you have children, live near a school, or have just walked into a Walmart or Target recently, you have to know that it’s back to school time. But the start of the school year means a lot more than longer lines at stores and frequent stops behind the big yellow bus. To keep both you and students safe, it is more important than ever to be extra careful on the road now that school is back in session.


Even though the summer is the most dangerous season for drivers, there are new and separate cautions you need to take while driving during the fall and winter. Consider the following when you’re driving near schools and around town this fall:


Be Extra Cautious Around Crosswalks – As you are making your commute home, remember that students may still be walking around town or leaving extra-curricular activities. Be sure to slow down and stop at crosswalks, even if you do not immediately see crossing pedestrians. Kids who are excited to be out of school and with their friends may not be looking both ways before crossing.


Driving Around Schools – For a lot of high school students, this will be their first year driving to school every day. But because teen drivers have less experience on the road, driving next to them puts you at a higher risk for an auto accident. It’s just one more reason to be extra cautious around school areas and understand that the drivers around you may still be getting used to using their turn signals or may drive a little slower (or faster) than you are used to.


Speeding – The extra traffic on the road may make you a few minutes late to work, but the solution isn’t to hit the gas pedal harder. While school is in session, remember that special school zones and decreased speed limits will also be in effect. Be sure to read and adjust your speed accordingly to avoid a big ticket.


Friday Night Lights – High school football is starting up again, which means your whole town might be headed to the big game. This is a common time for teenagers to hit the road, and the extra excitement of the game puts extra risk on other drivers in the area. And while it’s not always “cool” to be driven by your parents to a football game, it’s better than letting a group of hopped up teens drive together. Minimize the “lame parent” aspect by setting up a carpool with other parents so they can still ride with their friends.


Stop Behind Buses – There is a reason that school buses have those big stop signs out while they are dropping students off. Even though it’s an inconvenience to stop and wait every few minutes, passing a school bus while you are dropping off children may put you at risk for hitting a child – one that you may not see coming from in front of the bus until it is too late. If that isn’t enough to deter you, remember that it’s also against the law to keeping going when a bus puts its stop sign out.


School Bus Safety

Talk to Your Teen – Be sure to let your teenager know why it is important to be cautious around this time of year and refresh them on safe driving practices. Starting these practices now will prevent accidents and set them up to be a safe driver for the rest of their life. Get them in the habit of putting their phone in their glove compartment and buckling their seat belt before they put the keys in the ignition.


Even after taking precautions and practicing safe driving habits, you or your loved one may be the victim of an auto accident. For information on how you can receive compensation for your injuries and damages, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today.




How Common are School Bus Accidents

How Common are School Bus Accidents?

How Common are School Bus Accidents

It’s almost time to send your children back to school. Even though a lot about education has changed since your day, there’s one thing that remains the same: the big yellow school bus. You remember the days of the school bus: it may have been your favorite part of the day – or your least favorite – but those are memories that stick with you.


Back in your day, though, you probably weren’t wearing seat belts. You may have even been jumping around from seat to seat. Looking back, it probably wasn’t very safe to do that. Which begs the question: exactly how common are school bus accidents?


Fatal Crashes are Rare, but They Do Happen


Have you ever seen a school bus get into an accident? It’s not very common. In fact, crashes involving a school bus or other form of school transportation only accounted for .4% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes between 2004 and 2013.


School bus accidents cause around 134 deaths each year, but the majority of those deaths are not the children riding the bus. In fact, bus passengers only account for 8% of those deaths.


From 2004-2015, only 106 adults and children have been killed while riding or driving a school bus. Of those 106 people, 61 were passengers. School bus drivers face a similar risk while driving to and from school every day.


So who is getting killed? Pedestrians, cyclists, and individuals outside of motor vehicles account for around 20% of school bus accident deaths. The majority of people killed in school bus-related crashes, however, are passengers of other vehicles that the bus comes in contact with.


This statistic may be shocking, but makes sense considering how large school buses are compared to our cars. That’s why it’s important for all drivers to refresh their memory on safety during back-to-school time, and always be cautious when driving around school buses – it’s not just about keeping kids safe, but you!


The lack of bus passenger deaths in accidents is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that school bus injuries don’t occur.


Crashes Only Account for Half of School Bus Injuries


When most studies focus on school bus injuries, they focus on injuries that come from traffic accidents and crashes. However, there are other risks associated with riding the school bus. In fact, in 2006 studies showed that crashes only accounted for 42% of injuries.


Boca Raton School Bus Accident Lawyer

Including other causes, school bus injuries are said to send around 17,000 U.S. children to the emergency room each year. Crashes account for the highest percentage of injuries, but the second highest cause is boarding and leaving the bus. For example, your child could slip and fall on the steps leading to the bus, or get hit by a car while exiting the bus and crossing the street.


Other common causes of school bus injuries include:

  • Slips and falls in the bus
  • Sudden turns and stops on the bus
  • Horsing around


Most injuries will not require extended hospitalization and include things such as cuts, scrapes, broken bones, and so on.


Staying Safe on the Bus


Even though fatalities from bus accidents are rare, roughhousing and falls cause minor injuries every day – and sometimes even major ones. We’re not writing this to scare you, though. Statistics about bus injuries are a just good reminder to talk to your children about bus safety.


The below advice may seem simple or silly, but they could save your child’s life. Before your kids head on the bus this year, remind them to:


  • Look both ways when crossing the street and getting off the bus.
  • Stay sitting in their seat; being up and moving around will put them at risk of falling if the bus needs to make a sudden turn or stop.
  • Don’t shout or hop around seats of the bus; this will distract the driver
  • Don’t run onto the bus or to their seat; if the bus is slippery or the steps are high, they may end up with a nasty fall.
  • Tell an adult if they get a cut on the bus. Leaving a cut go unattended for a long period of time could cause infection.
  • Wear a seat belt. In Florida, there are seat belts available on the bus, and while it’s not the coolest thing to do, it will allow your child to stay safe through any sudden turns, stops, or other unsafe incidents on the bus.


What to Do If Your Child Is Injured on a School Bus

What to Do If Your Child Is Injured on a School Bus


There is a risk with any kind of motor vehicle transportation, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that school buses are the safest way for children to get to and from school. They are designed to be safer than regular cars or passenger vehicles and prevent more injuries.


If your child is injured on a school bus, however, know that you do have options and may be able to file a claim for compensation to cover medical bills and other costs. Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today to review your case and see if you have a strong case.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.