Safety of School Buses

by Jeffrey J. Kroll

Last week, a tragic incident occurred when a fifteen-year-old boy was struck by an 18-wheeler and was killed roughly seventy miles outside Houston, Texas. The truck driver has been arrested and charged with homicide. The teenager had just stepped off his school bus onto a highway when the collision occurred.

Each year, over 20 million elementary and secondary school-aged students in the United States ride school buses to and from school each day. Like this tragic death-producing incident, when something goes wrong, it tends to make major news headlines. Data from the most recent reports from the National Safety Council (NSC) noted that over 100 people were killed nationwide in school bus-related crashes in 2021. School buses may be the most regulated vehicles on the road, yet catastrophic injuries and deaths still occur.

While this deadly bus accident did not involve a potential seatbelt issue, only eight states have laws requiring seatbelts to be worn on school buses. As a parent of two children, safety is and has been one of my biggest concerns.

Similarly, according to research, children are more at risk when approaching or leaving a school bus. Therefore, we must teach our children to do the following:

  • Listen to the bus driver and follow their instructions.
  • Do not play or run near the school bus.
  • Stand back from the road while waiting or immediately exiting a school bus.
  • Ensure that the school bus has come to a complete stop and the doors have opened before standing up to exit or walking toward the bus to enter.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that only 0.3% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involve school transportation. This is why we need to be advocates for our children. Pushing for school districts, cities, and states to add seatbelts is the first step.

The school bus safety attorneys at Kaveny + Kroll know firsthand the impact an injury or death can have on a family. If you or a loved one have been involved in a school bus collision, or been involved in a motor vehicle collision, the injury attorneys at Kaveny + Kroll can answer any questions you may have regarding your child’s incident.