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What are the Legal Rights of Children Crossing the Street for a School Bus? Warning Signs. Be Aware. Drive Safe Near These Zones.

School-Bus-Safety-300x126In Georgia and other states, there is a daily weekday routine that all drivers should be well aware of – children crossing the street prior to loading a school bus OR after unloading from a school bus. Most buses are a bright yellow color with stop signal arms and flashing lights. Despite the obvious visual presence of a school bus, school bus zones, street signage, and traffic signals, there are still pedestrian accidents and school bus accidents that cause serious injuries to children. Tragically, some children die as a result of these incidents.

A recent accident in Georgia demonstrates the unfortunate reality of these tragedies. News reports indicate that one child died and another child sustained serious injuries when a car hit them as they crossed a road to board their school bus. It was reported that the car hit the two brothers because the driver attempted to pass their idling school bus even though the school bus had its stop signs out.  It was reported that the driver had a suspended license.

Unfortunately, incidents of this nature occur all too frequently. According to statistics released by Stanford Children’s Hospital, twenty-four percent of all school bus injuries occur when students enter or exit a school bus. Additionally, the ten-foot radius around a school bus constitutes a “danger zone.” In the danger zone, children are two times more likely to die than they are likely to die in a traffic accident on the school bus. Thus, it is more dangerous for a child to be near a school bus than it is for them to ride a school bus. See Stanford Children’s Hospital – How Safe Is School Bus Travel. 

Despite these alarming statistics, safety precautions can help reduce the frequency of these tragedies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that children arrive at bus stops at least five minutes before the bus scheduled arrival time, wait for the bus at least six feet from the curb, and only walk in front of the bus once they are at least ten feet away from the school bus. The NHTSA also suggests that drivers remain vigilant when driving, especially around school zones and bus stops, as well as obey the flashing light system employed by schools buses. Yellow flashing lights mean the school bus is preparing to stop, so motorist should slow down. Red flashing lights mean the school bus stopped, so motorists must stop because children are loading or unloading. See School Bus Safety

Sadly, even when safety precautions are taken, accidents still occur. Children injured in these types of incidents may be able to bring a cause of action for the injuries they sustained. For example, if a driver strikes a child because he or she failed to obey the traffic laws regarding school buses, then the driver’s reckless or negligent conduct would make him or her liable for the injuries the child sustained. Nonetheless, every accident is different, so parents of a child injured when crossing the road to enter or exit a school bus should consult an experienced Child Injury Attorney for advice tailored to the specific facts of their situation.

When a child is injured, the pursuit of compensation on behalf of the child will depend on a number of factors including the following:

Who was at fault for the crash?

Did the at-fault drive carry automobile insurance?

Will other insurance coverage the child?  School bus insurance? Parent’s insurance?

What were the injuries suffered by the child?

What are the past medical bills? Future medical bills?

Did the child suffer a permanent injury?

To establish a legal claim or case on behalf of the injured child, the parent, as the guardian of the child, must establish the following elements:  Duty, Breach of Duty, Causation, and Damages.  There are a number of practical and legal challenges to most every injury case.  As such, a parent of an injured child should reach out to a Child Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation.

David Wolf is an experienced child injury attorney. He is the author of 12 books and over 4,000 articles that focus on child injury and safety issues.  David Wolf firmly believes in Giving a Voice to Injured Children and Their Families.