School buses can be the safest form of travel for South Carolina students – at least when drivers follow the rules of the road. However, when safety violations occur, tragedy can follow. This article addresses common causes of bus accidents, and what can be done to help prevent injury and ensure your child remains safe.
1. Unqualified Bus Drivers
Getting behind the wheel of a school bus is much different than driving an ordinary car. Due to its size and weight, buses take longer to turn and also pose a rollover risk. Not only that, but in South Carolina, our school buses are still without seatbelts. Because of the inherent risks of driving a bus - not to mention you are carrying our most precious resource - drivers must be properly trained and tested. Regrettably, many bus drivers barely meet a low, minimal standard, and frequently put children in harm's way due to pure negligence.
In addition to being able to properly drive a school bus, these individuals must be trained in how to deal with fights, bullying, and other forms of assault. We have received numerous calls from parents over the years who shared stories of bus incidents that could have been prevented or mitigated if the adult driver had simply intervened.
2. Distracted Car Drivers
Distracted driving has reached epidemic proportion. Drivers text, post on social media, send emails, and do any host of other dangerous things behind the wheel. Every time someone takes their eyes off the road, our community - including our school buses and the children riding on them - are placed at risk. Distracted drivers can run into the back of a bus, strike a child making their way across the road, or veer into oncoming traffic. This will remain a persistent threat until stricter laws are enacted against distracted driving.
3. Unsafe Buses & Bus Stops
Many of South Carolina's school buses are outdated and dangerous. From faulty brakes to bald tires, our children are forced to ride in vehicles that our lawmakers would never themselves ride in. The injuries we see from bus crashes are often made worse due to the absence of seatbelts, as well as the dilapidated exterior condition of the buses.
Bus stops can pose hidden dangers that become all too real in the event of an accident. For example, the bus stop may be located at an inherently dangerous point on the road that requires children to make unsafe crossings. In such cases, negligence may lie with the school district, SC Department of Transportation, or even private companies.
Our lawmakers, school districts, and bus drivers can all do more to keep South Carolina's children safe. From better training to seatbelts to bus cameras to real penalties for distracted driving, more can be done at our state and local level. Because I represent children who have been injured as a result of others' negligence, I have learned the steps that could be taken to prevent harm. I want to do my part to make South Carolina a safer place for our young people, and am here to help your family in the event someone has violated safety rules and hurt your child. If you have any questions, call me today at 803-790-2800.