Maine School Bus Accidents a Concern With New School Year

It was only a handful of months ago that a school bus collided with a tractor-trailer in Farmington, sending more than a dozen middle school students to the hospital with cuts and bruises.

Our Bangor personal injury lawyers know that as frightening as it was for those children, it could have been much worse.

That’s the thing with school bus accidents: They don’t happen all the time, but when they do, they’re often serious.

With school back in session, there are a host of potential safety issues. You have young kids who have never ridden the bus on their own. You have older kids who may try to show off and get reckless either on or near the bus. You have bus stops along busy roadways, with children often walking to and then idling there before daybreak. You have bus drivers that are either tired or not paying attention. You have other drivers who are impatient with the buses’ incessant stops and slow pace. You have our severe Maine winter storms that blanket the roadways in snow and ice.

All of this combined creates the potential for a tragedy.

We don’t want to see that happen. Unfortunately, we can’t control the actions of every driver on the road. That’s why it’s important for parents to educate themselves – and their children – about school bus safety, even if they’ve ridden the bus before.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that some 25 million kids rely on the school bus to get them to class every day. In all, there are about 475,000 school buses on the road across America.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that about 17,000 children were hospitalized due to school-bus related injuries. Sometimes, it’s the driver hitting the brakes to hard, and other times, they’re turning a sharp corner.

However, the vast majority of school bus accidents happen when kids are getting on or off the bus or when they are nearby it. There’s the potential slip-and-fall of simply getting on and off, but there’s also the risk of impatient drivers trying to overtake the bus, despite the red flashing stop warning – and inadvertently striking a child.

If your child is hurt on the bus or by a vehicle while at or near the bus stop, you might be entitled to compensation for:

Medical and dental expenses;
Psychological therapy;
Any long-term recovery needs;
Any loss of future opportunities or income;

While you can’t control every driver who happens by your child on his or her way to school, you can teach your child how to be safer around the school bus:

  • When the bus pulls up, take at least three huge steps away from the curb, and lineup away from the street.
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, make sure the driver can see you and that you can see the bus driver.
  • Never walk behind a bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, don’t try to pick it up without telling the driver because they may not see you.

If you are the victim of a Bangor traffic accident, contact us at 1-800-804-2004 or read more on our website.

Additional Resources:
Students injured when school bus, tractor-trailer collide in Farmington, Staff Report, Bangor Daily News

More Blog Entries:
What Type of Insurance Benefits are You Entitled to in Your Personal Injury Case? Casale v. Cranston Answers , April 25, 2012, Bangor Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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