Articles Posted in School Bus Accidents

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A rash of early-morning school bus accidents across the country – in Florida, Indiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania – over the course of a single week have highlighted the serious scourge of distracted driving. Florida bus accident attorneys understand these incidents collectively ended in the deaths of five students, while six others were hospitalized. 

Florida law very clearly outlines the rules for drivers encountering school bus stops. F.S. 316.172 requires any driver who approaches a school bus displaying a stop signal to bring their vehicle to a full stop and not pass the bus until the signal has been withdrawn. The only exceptions are motorists driving on a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least 5 feet, a raised medium or physical barrier; they aren’t required to stop when traveling the opposite direction.

Tougher Penalties for Florida School Bus Accidents  Continue reading →

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Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a school bus driver who, against district policy, advised students to cross a busy road in the dark before the bus arrived at their stop each morning. One of those students was struck by a car while crossing the street early one morning before school. 

According to court records in Davis v. Baez, plaintiff was an 18-year-old senior in high school in the Miami-Dade County school district. She was hit by a car while she was crossing from the west side of the street to get to the east side of the street, where her school bus stop was located. It was 5:50 a.m., so it was still dark, and the bus hadn’t yet arrived. Plaintiff suffered severe injuries as a result of the collision.

Her 16-year-old brother, who also waited at the stop with her, had already safely crossed by that point. But both children had previously been instructed by the school bus driver that they needed to cross the busy street – from the west side to the east side – to be waiting for him on the east side before he arrived. If they weren’t already on that side of the street when he pulled up, the driver told them, he would leave without them.  Continue reading →

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A fiery bus accident in Florida recently killed 5 people and injured 25 others, leaving investigators to untangle the mystery of what might have caused the driver of a decades-old school bus to breeze through a flashing red light and slam into the side of a tractor-trailer. Both vehicles burst into flames upon impact. 

News reports are the 56-year-old bus driver, who hails from Belle Glade, was hospitalized in critical condition. The 55-year-old driver of the semi-truck died as a result his injuries. The 21-year-old passenger in the truck was not injured, but four bus passengers died at the scene. Of the 25 total people injured, three were in critical condition.

The bus accident occurred on Coastal Highway 98 in Wakulla County. Those on board were Haitian migrant farmworkers and their families from Georgia. They were on their way to Belle Glade for a few weeks of contracted work before they planned to head back up north. Both vehicles were reduced to charred, smoking frames of their former masses.  Continue reading →

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Less than a week after a charter bus crash in Texas killed nine people and injured 44, another charter bus crash in Florida killed two people and injured several more.

Officials reported the driver of a Dodge Challenger collided with the bus as it was moving north on Northwest 27th Avenue near 11th Court. The driver of that car was pronounced dead at the scene while the passenger, the father of a 6-year-old daughter, died after he was transported to Broward Health Medical Center. At the time of the crash, there were 38 people aboard the charter bus, including 34 students, three chaperones and a driver. The students, from three area high schools, were returning from a field trip event in Tallahassee when the crash occurred.

Although details of who may have been at fault in the bus crash are still under investigation, the fact is that a growing number of people will be utilizing charter buses to get around this summer. Gov. Rick Scott’s office reported in February that Florida tourism numbers spiked to a record 105 million last year. A substantial portion of those travel either from other parts of the state or other parts of the country to Florida destinations, and many utilize charter bus services. Continue reading →

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Many times when we talk about school bus accidents and related injuries, we are focused on the well-being of the children aboard the bus or who are on the ground in the vicinity.

However, there are a fair number of cases in which other drivers and passengers – often in much-smaller vehicles – are harmed as a result of a run-in with a school bus. These large vehicles require an operator who exercises great care and caution, particularly when approaching intersections, negotiating turns and initiating stops.

When they fail to do this, both the school bus driver and employer may be held responsible, making the victims eligible to receive compensation.

Our Delray Beach school bus accident attorneys note one such incident recently came before the Louisiana Supreme Court. In Purvis v. Grant Parish School Board, the case was prompted by injuries sustained to a motor vehicle driver and passenger involved in a collision with a school bus.
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After the fatal bus accident in St. Lucie County back at the end of March, officials with the St. Lucie County School District are stepping in and trying to offer insurance advice to parents of the victims.

According to the TC Palm, a letter was sent home to parents offering them advice regarding the policies and the coverage that’s available to help to cover the injuries and the medical expenses for the victims. County officials call this accident “probably the worst accident in the history of the School District.” In the late-March accident, a fourth grader was killed and 15 additional students were injured when the bus slammed into a semi at the intersection of Midway and Okeechobee roads.

“We just want to let them know how they should approach their claims and offer them assistance,” said Susan Carver, risk management coordinator with the district.

Our St. Lucie County personal injury attorneys urge parents to contact an experienced attorney if their child has been involved in a school bus-related accident. It’s important to make sure you’ve got legal representation to help you secure the compensation that you and your child deserve. Parents should avoid talking to school officials and with insurance companies before talking to an attorney. Information you provide to these individuals may cause you to forfeit what you rightfully deserve following such an accident.

In the state, the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault law requires each driver to have at least $10,000 of PIP, which holds the driver’s insurance company responsible for medical costs regardless of who is at fault in the accident. This type of coverage also covers children who are injured while riding on a school bus.

According to the Carver, parents are urged to submit their child’s medical bills that exceed the PIP coverage to their health insurance provider. She adds that for kids without health insurance and those who have bills that fall over their insurance caps the district carries an accident policy that has a limit of $1 million per claim for medical expenses. Within this policy, there is a $25,000 deductible.

Parents are usually the ones who are responsible for paying co-insurance and deductibles. If they want though, they’re able to file a claim with district’s liability coverage asking for reimbursement.

If parents have to come out of pocket with any of the expenses, they’re also welcome to file a claim with the district. The district has claims adjusters who administer that liability coverage. This isn’t an automatic reimbursement. Again, you need to contact an experienced attorney to make sure you’re not getting shortchanged because according to Carver, the district’s liability insurance will more than likely run out!
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We generally think of the big yellow bus as one of the safest ways to transport our kids to school. But fall session has only just begun and already we have a bus accident to report in Pasco County.

Our Fort Lauderdale school bus accident lawyers realize that school bus accidents in Palm Beach or Miami may not be an everyday occurrence like motor vehicle accidents. But when they do occur they can cause some serious injury to children or occupants of other vehicles. We put our faith in school systems to hire safe drivers and get our kids to and from school safely. So when an accident occurs, it takes us by surprise. Contact an experienced school bus accident attorney to help you sort through all the legal details.

WTSP 10 News reports a bus driver failed to stop at a stop sign before colliding at an intersection with another vehicle causing the bus to roll over after impact. The details of the crash are still under investigation but witness say the school bus ran through the sign without stopping and hit a woman driving a Buick who did not have a stop sign in her direction. The speed limit is 30 mph on Monteverde Drive where the accident occurred but no one knows exactly how fast the bus driver was traveling. The victim driving the car was rushed by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center with serious injuries. The bus driver and two of the passengers aboard the bus sustained minor injuries. The bus driver was cited for failure to obey a traffic control device.

A 2004 report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles indicates that in 2002, there were just shy of 1 million children riding to school on 19,453 buses statewide. From 1998-2002, there were 6 deaths and 56 injuries caused by a school bus-related accident. During this period there were over 4,800 accidents involving school buses and bus drivers were cited for being at fault in 31 percent of the crashes.

Prior to transporting any children in Florida, school boards and charter schools must ensure that the bus driver meets the following requirements:

-A minimum of 5 years licensed driving experience.

-Drivers must pass a written exam testing knowledge of rules and laws, as well as a skills test taken in a bus. Upon passing each test, the driver can obtain a Class A or B commercial driver license with a Passenger endorsement.

-Any driver hired after July 31, 1986 must complete 40 hours of pre-service training which includes 20 hours of classroom instruction following the Florida Basic School Bus Driver Curriculum, 8 hours of instruction behind the wheel and 12 hours at the school district’s discretion. All training must be documented on a certification form instituted by the Commissioner of Education.

-8 hours of in-service training annually.

-Submit fingerprints for a background check.

-A pre-employment drug-screen must be completed and passed.

-The school district must provide documentation for a substance abuse background check if the newly hired bus driver has worked or volunteered in the previous two years in a position requiring a CDL.

-Bus drivers can be randomly checked at any time for alcohol or substance abuse. Drivers must test negative or meet the minimum standard of .02 blood alcohol concentration or be considered under the influence which is prohibited by law.

-Pass a physical exam annually prescribed by the U.S. Department of Transportation standards.

-Maintain a clean driving record as reported by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This will be done a minimum of three times per year via the Automated School Bus Drivers’ License Record Check System.

-Know how to check vehicle systems, administer medical attention to children if needed, and assist children with special needs.

Bus drivers should be reliable, dependable and act responsibly in emergency situations in order to keep children safe and avoid a collision or bus-related accident.
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