School buses are the most common way our children get to school. School buses help us get around the city and across the country. Because school buses are large and heavy, we feel safe when we ride them. Children often play while waiting for the school school bus. If they are playing ball and the ball gets away from them, they may run into the street to retrieve it. A child may simply run to catch a school bus and trip on an untied shoe lace. A pedestrian crossing the street may not see a school bus rounding a corner. A person riding a bicycle may think they can get across the street before an oncoming school bus reaches him.
There are three specific dangers associated with school buses:
- Driver blind spots in the front and rear of the bus
- The lack of seat belts.
- The lack of guards or deflectors around the wheels TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM BEING RUN OVER.
A school bus’s Danger Zone is defined as a 10-foot radius around a school bus that may conceal a pedestrian’s presence.
As you can see from this diagram, a bus driver cannot see a pedestrian crossing directly in front of the bus. A pedestrian, bicycle rider, and especially a child can easily land under a school bus and be run over by it. Cameras placed around the bus is an easy solution to this problem; however, most buses are not equipped with these cameras.
Likewise, a child chasing a ball or simply tripping on a shoe lace can fall under a moving bus and be run over. Such a victim will likely sustain catastrophic injuries, and perhaps death. These injuries could be prevented by having wheel guards or deflectors on the buses.
Having seat belts on buses would prevent injuries in more than one way. Besides keeping the children in place during an accident, they would help keep the children in place while the bus is moving. This would prevent injuries which could happen to an out of position passenger when the bus makes a sudden stop or when it swerves unexpectedly.
It is essential that lawyers handling these types of cases be prepared with a broad base of knowledge about the specific technology, insurance issues, multistate discovery practices and other aspects of litigation that are unique to the commercial vehicle industry and this type of litigation.
Handling a case involving a school bus requires a special investment of time and resources, and a detailed knowledge of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. All aspects of handling a case involving a school bus – including investigation, discovery, technology and the laws involved – are significantly different than a standard automobile case.
The attorneys of Wolff Ardis, P.C. know how to properly prepare your case. We can also determine if a defective product was involved and locate an effective alternative design which can help you recover from the manufacturer if that is the case. If you have lost a loved one or sustained serious injury in an accident with a school bus, contact Wolff Ardis, P.C.