When parents put their children on a school bus, they trust and believe their children will be safe. Usually, the parents are right. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that while 26 million U.S. school children ride a school bus each day, only 12,000 per year experience any kind of injury, and only about 600 each year are killed. School buses are estimated to be nine times safer than other vehicles. But these statistics mean nothing when the child who suffers is your own.
School Bus Weight Makes Accidents More Severe
While most school bus operators drive with care, distractions on the bus or the road can divert the driver’s attention, perhaps at a critical moment. School buses also require significantly more space and time to stop. According to the DOT, a fully-loaded school bus needs about 300 feet to stop. To compensate, school buses are equipped with mirrors and other devices to help drivers detect hazards before an accident can occur, but no system is foolproof.
School bus accidents can also take the lives of or cause severe injuries to other motorists involved in the bus accident. School buses are much larger and heavier than the average passenger car: the average full-size school bus weighs about 22,000 to 28,000 pounds. A bus with a full load of students can weigh as much as 42,700 pounds. The average passenger car facing a fully-loaded school bus may be unable to stand up to the force of a crash.
Since 1990, 1,450 people have been killed in school bus accidents nationwide. Of these, two-thirds were in another vehicle involved in a crash with a school bus. Twenty-five percent of the victims were pedestrians or bicyclists, and nine percent were passengers on or drivers of the school bus.
How Often Are School Buses Inspected?
Indiana school buses are inspected each year by an Indiana state police officer to ensure that they meet federal and state safety requirements, as well as rules imposed by the Indiana State School Bus Committee. School buses that are more than 12 years old are inspected twice each year.
School buses are also subject to random spot checks of their condition and equipment. These checks help ensure that Indiana’s school buses are functioning properly, decreasing but not eliminating the chances of an accident or injury caused by a bus design or manufacturing defect.
We Can Help
If you've been injured in an Indiana school bus accident, or if you have a loved one who has been in a school bus crash, you may be facing mounting medical bills; lost wages or household help from a child; pain and suffering; and other concerns. The complicated maze of school authorities, insurance policies, and other drivers who were perhaps involved in the accident can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
At Sevenish Law Firm, we understand how difficult a school bus accident situation can be. We'll help you sort out the details of your case and also understand your rights under Indiana law. Our Indianapolis bus crash lawyers will fight aggressively to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you need to pay medical bills, recoup lost wages, and handle other expenses. Contact Sevenish Law Firm today at 1-800-278-9200 for a free and confidential consultation.