When we put our children on the school bus each day, we hope that the bus driver will be responsible, drive safely and look out for the best interests of everyone on board. Fortunately, background checks and driving-history screenings help to ensure that most bus drivers will do just that. But it’s far from a fool-proof system.
A recent tragedy involving a school bus accident resulted in the death of six-year-old Ariana Haynes. According to police reports, the school bus rolled onto its side after taking a left turn too fast, then attempting to veer to the right. Ariana was ejected from the bus and suffered critical injuries. She died in the hospital the next day.
According to Ariana’s parents, the negligent and reckless bus driver is responsible for their daughter’s death. As a result, they have brought a lawsuit against the driver and Houston County schools. The driver has been criminally charged with vehicular homicide and reckless driving. A Boston motor vehicle accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if another’s negligence has caused you harm.
The lawsuit alleges that the bus driver’s use of excessive speed and failure to use caution, make a legal left turn and apply the brakes in a proper manner all contributed to Ariana’s death. The family is seeking damages, including punitive, from the bus driver and school district.
When a School Bus Accident Occurs, Who is Responsible?
A number of parties could potentially be liable in a school bus accident that causes injury or property damage. The nature of the accident and the underlying cause will factor heavily into making this determination. If a school bus accident occurs, the following parties may be responsible:
- School district
- Private school
- Non-school operator of the bus: church, sports team, etc.
- Private contractor providing transportation to a school or other organization
- Manufacturer of the school bus
- Parts manufacturer
- Third party repair company
- Entity responsible for roadway construction and maintenance, or design
- Driver of another vehicle
When school bus accidents occur, it is essential to hire an experienced MA motor vehicle accident attorney because these lawsuits can become overwhelmingly complicated. And school bus accidents do occur. In fact, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), school buses account for more bus fatalities than any other type of bus, 37 percent to be exact. Even so, school busses are still the safest way for children to get to and from school.
Always Use Caution Around a School Bus
You can do your part to help prevent school bus-related accidents, by following the tips below.
- When approaching a school bus stop in your vehicle, slow down even if you don’t see any children. Kids may dart into the street, especially when they’re running late.
- Obey bus laws and familiarize yourself with the flashing lights system: yellow lights mean the bus is preparing to stop, red lights mean the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off.
Kids are 70 times more likely to get to school safely on the bus than via any other mode of transportation. If we all work together to ensure the safety of our children – to and from school, in school and at home – we can dramatically reduce the incidence of childhood injuries and death. Continue reading