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Minimum Driver Requirements Needed to Reduce Injuries in School Bus-Related Accidents in Fort Pierce, Fort Lauderdale

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.

Contact the experienced accident attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez for legal assistance involving a school bus-related accident in Margate, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale or the surrounding areas. Call 1-800-561-7777 to make an appointment for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:
School bus to blame in crash, 4 injured, by Chase Cain, WTSP 10 News.

School Bus Accidents in Port St. Lucie Often Caused by Operator Negligence, Contact an Experienced Law Firm Immediately, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, May 12, 2011.

Pair of Palm Beach School Bus Accidents a Reminder of Dangers Faced by Motorists and Passengers, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, October 29, 2010.

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