The new school year has brought new academic and financial challenges to students and parents. However, they often give little thought to the safety aspects of the trip to school and back.
A new report suggests getting on and off the school bus may be more dangerous than many people realize. Research from American Traffic Solutions (ATS) found 100 children are killed and another 25,000 are injured every year on the way to and from school.
The report highlighted so-called "school danger zones" and how the majority of accidents are caused by drivers traveling too fast through these zones. Two thirds of crashes in school danger zones are caused by speeding and one sixth by distracted driving, the report stated.
It's an offense to drive past a school bus with its stop arm raised in South Carolina. However, there is evidence the law is widely flouted. A recent voluntary survey by school bus drivers suggested more than 260 vehicles illegally drove past school buses in just one day in South Carolina.
Traditionally the danger zone is the area around a school bus in which it is hard to see kids.
ATS is advocating cameras attached to the outside of school buses to capture images and video of drivers that illegally pass the stop arm.
The evidence is sent on to law enforcement to review before issuing a
citation. The CrossingGuard ®School Bus Arm Enforcement
solution, provided by American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is touted by the company as "an example of available products that schools are choosing in order to make drivers stop for school buses."
Here are some safety tips to keep kids safe in the fall:
- Don't chase. If your student misses the bus at their usual stop, do not follow the bus to the next stop and let your child walk and run beside the bus to get on. The driver may not see the child in the danger zone, especially when it's dark.
- Keep your distance. Make children stay at least 10 feet (or five giant steps) away from the school bus until they are ready to board.
- Allow Space. If a child must cross the street to the bus, they should cross at least 10 feet in front of the bus so as they can see the driver and the driver can see them.
- Never pick up objects from the road. Tell children if they drop something they should never pick it up. Instead, they should tell the bus driver and follow instructions. If they bend over to pick up an object the bus driver might not see them and could pull away, hitting them.
- Look right. Children should always look to the right when they step off the bus. Other drivers may sometimes try to sneak past a school bus on the right.
If you or a child is hurt by a driver who is flouting school bus laws or is at fault in any other way, you may have grounds to make a claim against the driver's insurance policy. An experienced South Carolina auto accident injury lawyer can help you out. Call Masella Law at 803.748.9990.