News of an accident involving a school bus with students on board understandably sends chills through Chicago-area parents. However, according to the National Safety Council, school buses are still the safest way for kids to get to and from school. In fact, according to the NSC, it is 10 times safer for a student to take the bus than to walk to and from school and 13 times safer than riding in a car.
School buses are largely designed with safety in minds. Their bright color and flashing lights make them easy for other vehicles to see. Their large mirrors help the driver see vehicles and pedestrians around the bus. The seat backs provide support for their young passengers. However, as we discussed here earlier this year, school buses aren't required to have seat belts.
School bus drivers can find it challenging to maneuver traffic and deal with a busload of kids simultaneously. Parents are urged to teach their kids good bus etiquette, which can also help make the ride safer. This includes not leaving their seat during the ride, not getting up until the bus has stopped and not putting any part of their body outside the window.
Getting on and off the bus can be the most dangerous parts of the school bus experience. Children can get hit by other vehicles or even by the bus itself while walking in front or back of it.
If a child is injured in a school bus accident, while getting on or off the bus or through some incident on the bus, parents may be able to hold the bus driver, school district and possibly others liable in civil court. It's advisable to seek legal guidance to determine what your options are.
Source: National Safety Council, "School Buses are Students' Safest Mode of Transportation," accessed Sep. 01, 2015