As a general rule, children are far safer on a school bus than they are in a passenger car, truck, or SUV. One of the safest ways that children can be transported to school is on a school bus, even though they don't normally wear seat belts.
Fatal school bus accidents are extremely rare, but that does not mean that they don't happen. In September 2015, USA Today reported that a school bus accident in Houston claimed the lives of two children after the school bus swerved on an overpass, and fell to an access road below, where the school bus landed on its side.
School Bus Accidents are Uncommon
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year about 134 people are killed in an accident involving a school bus. Of the 134 that are killed, only 8% are riding in school busses, proving that few lives are claimed in school bus accidents.
While few children are injured or killed in school bus accidents, there are occasions where a negligent bus driver fails to protect the children's safety and as a result, the children are harmed. In November 2016, a tragic bus accident occurred in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which claimed the lives of six children ages 6 to 10, and injuring dozens more.
The 24-year-old bus driver was taking the children home from school when he slammed the bus into a tree. The bus was travelling at such a high speed that it split in half upon impact. According to the children on the bus, the driver would curse at them and intentionally slam on the brakes so they would hit their heads. That day, he was supposedly trying to teach the children a lesson.
Records going back to September show that parents complained about the driver's disregard for the children's safety to the Hamilton County Department of Education, CNN reported. Even a few students had made official complaints.
In a letter to school officials, one parent said the driver would swear at the students and purposely slam on his brakes so they would fall out of their seats and hit their heads. That parent threatened to beat the driver up if he didn't improve his driving habits.
The fatal accident in Tennessee shows us that parents must be vigilant about rogue bus drivers who fail to put their children's safety first, and they must complain to the proper officials when they learn of unsafe driving behaviors that put their children's safety at risk.
If your child was injured in a school bus accident, please reach out to a personal injury attorney right away to file a claim for just compensation.