School is back in session across Boston and throughout Massachusetts, which means that school buses full of children are back on the roads each morning and afternoon as they are taken back and forth from bus stops and the school yard. As uneventful as transporting children should be, on occasion terrible incidents can occur regarding impatient motorists hitting kids who are getting onto or off the school bus. If your child was harmed or even killed following such an incident, contact an attorney from the Cambridge personal injury firm of Altman & Altman LLP today.
Stopping for school bus loading/unloading is the law in Massachusetts
If you are a motorist traveling in a vehicle and you come across a school bus stopping, accompanied by the stop sign arm extending from the driver’s side of the vehicle with lights flashing, it is your legal obligation to stop your vehicle and wait until the stop sign arm has retracted and the school bus continues forward.
Failure to stop in such a situation, or illegally passing by a school bus that has come to a stop to let children on or off the bus, can result in a minimum $250 fine. That fine can climb as high as $2,000 and also leave the perpetrator with a suspended license for a whole year.
School bus passing can have deadly consequences
The school bus stopping law is one that exists for very straightforward, good reasons. Kids as young as five years old utilize the school bus to get to school each day, and some must cross busy streets to do so. Ensuring that traffic has stopped on both sides of the road is the only way to make sure that they aren’t put at adverse risk of being struck by a vehicle, which at their age is always a potentially life-threatening accident to suffer.
According to a national survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), where 38 states and Washington D.C. responded to inquiries regarding how many school bus passing incidents occurred during a school year, as many as 15 million motorists will illegally pass a stopped school bus – which demonstrates how disturbingly common such an incident is, and how many children are potentially at risk from this reckless behavior.
Tragically, in just a six-month period between August 2018 and March 2019, 12 children were killed in the United States and another 47 injured as they simply tried to get on and off of their school bus. According to the NASDPTS study, 73 percent of the students killed over a 48-year period in the country were 9 years old or younger. Continue reading