Importance of School Bus Safety in Texas
In Texas, approximately 1.3 million students ride a bus to and from school every day. While it is impossible to make road accidents 100% preventable, it was recorded that 28,922 school bus accidents occurred across the state, resulting in 4,575 student injuries or fatalities. These statistics are unacceptable on every level
School bus safety should be a priority. Children are precious cargo—their families trust that when they get on a school bus, they will arrive at school and return home unharmed. However, many school districts, charter schools, private schools, and daycares across the state outsource all aspects of student transportation to third-party companies to save money. These for-profit companies can sometimes cut corners in order to maximize the profits they get from the schools and daycares. These cuts often compromise a child’s safety.
Common Injuries Texas Kids Sustain on a School Bus
School buses purchased after 2018 are required to have three-point seat belts, but school boards are allowed to opt out if they can’t afford to retrofit buses or buy new ones. Therefore, buses belonging to many third-party transportation companies go without seat belts. The result is that children are oftentimes seriously injured from an accident. The most common injuries include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Head injuries
- Internal injuries, including internal bleeding, bruised or punctured organs
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Muscle damages
- Spinal cord injuries
How School Bus Injuries Can Be Prevented
A vast majority of accidents can simply be prevented when third-party bus companies focus on driver training and vetting and bus maintenance.
Driving a school bus requires a special skill set, including being able to concentrate while safely transporting kids to and from school. Unfortunately, distracted driving is the most common problem when it comes to school bus drivers. Often, a driver is tired, on a cell phone, eating, speeding, or distracted by the kids they are transporting. To combat this, the Texas Department of Public Safety offers school bus driver certification and re-certification courses across the state. It is important that third-party bus companies require all drivers complete this important training, in addition to properly vetting drivers by conducting background checks and testing for drugs and alcohol to prevent accidents and injuries to young students. These measures and programs are vital, especially as the transportation industry faces a shortage of qualified drivers.
Proper maintenance of school buses is also key to preventing accidents that hurt children. A bus that has been properly maintained may be able to withstand the impact of an accident better than one that has not. In fact, the Texas Department of Public Safety makes it easier for third-party companies to ensure their vehicles that transport children are safe and properly functioning with this booklet of school bus specifications and requirements.
What to Do if Your Child is Hurt on a School Bus
We understand the mix of emotions that you may feel after learning your child has been hurt on a school bus. It is important to remain calm and follow these five steps to protect your child and help you seek compensation for their injuries:
- Call the Police: Many children have cell phones to contact their parents in the event of an emergency. Because of this, your child may contact you to tell you about the accident immediately after it happens. It is important to call the police and report the accident as soon as you hear from your child in case the driver is harmed and unable to make the call.
- Document What Happened: Speak to your child and record as much about the incident as possible. This includes asking them about what was happening on the bus before the accident, if they saw the accident, how they knew they were in an accident, and what hurt them. If possible, take pictures of the scene, write down what happened, and gather contact information for the bus driver and parents of the other children involved in the accident. The more detailed information you can document, the stronger your case will be.
- Seek Medical Attention: Children may not be able to fully communicate the pain they are feeling or where they are hurt, which is why it is important to see a doctor or get checked by an emergency physician. The doctor visit will also help document any injuries that can be used in your case.
- Document Your Child’s Injuries and Healing Process: Just like you documented the incident, you will need to log your child’s injuries. You can take pictures and write down details from doctor visits, track additional injuries like bruises that may appear after the incident, and chronicle your child’s healing progress.
- Contact The Button Law Firm’s Expert School Bus Injury Lawyers. The laws are not straightforward with school bus injury cases, so let our knowledgeable team of Texas Super Lawyer-ranked attorneys review your situation and help you seek the compensation that you deserve within two years from the date of the incident. We can also help you navigate complicated insurance processes on behalf of your child.
How The Button Law Firm is Holding School Bus Companies Accountable
If your child is hurt in a school bus accident in Texas, contact our team of compassionate and experienced attorneys at The Button Law Firm. We are dedicated to holding third-party transportation companies and drivers responsible and have successfully helped families, like yours, with these cases. We will listen and guide you to determine the best way to help you move forward. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.