Every parent will agree that their children are the most important aspects to their lives. Keeping that in perspective, it somehow seems ironic that each day we send our children to school without giving much thought to the safety of the bus that will convey them to and from that destination.
According to the American School Bus Council, transport by bus is still the safest way for children to get to and from school. There are many reasons why travel by school bus is relatively safe for our children, but most of them can be reduced to pre-hiring screening of drivers and ongoing testing/training.
The ASBC says that requiring potential drivers to undergo criminal background checks, driving history reviews and drug and alcohol screening helps to ensure a quality pool of potential bus drivers. The organization also recommends that those tests remain ongoing even after a bus driver is hired.
Additionally, the ASBC says that state approved training programs, periodic skills evaluations and constant monitoring of drivers’ abilities are all important components to maintaining overall driver safety.
ASBC also recommends that school bus drivers be knowledgeable about safe driving techniques such as learning defensive driving skills. Many school bus accidents occur when children are embarking or disembarking the bus. That is why ASBC suggests that school bus drivers be knowledgeable about safe passenger loading and unloading practices.
Despite the proven effectiveness of these strategies, they are only beneficial when they are enforced. A recent review of school bus accidents in Shelby County, Tennessee, uncovered as many as 16 accidents that occurred since the beginning of school year that ended with the bus driver receiving a citation.
There are a few things you should know if you are a parent of a child injured in a preventable school bus accident. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be entitled to recover compensation from those responsible for the harm done to your child. In some cases, you may be able to sue for claims related to your child’s medical expenses and rehabilitative therapies. Your Tennessee personal injury attorney can prove to be invaluable at assessing the legal merit of your case.
Source: American School Bus Council, “Fact: School Bus Drivers Are Tested, Trained, and Re-Tested” Nov. 17, 2014