A beloved Indianapolis elementary school principle was killed last year when one of the school’s buses struck her. She was noted as a hero as she saved several children by pushing them to safety but was unable to save herself. Investigations revealed that the bus did not have the parking break engaged, which allowed the vehicle to learch forward with tragic results.
While this appears to be a rare event that received many headlines, the Department of Transportation reports that on average each year, 135 people die as a result of school transportation related injuries. Of those, 21% were pedestrians, as in the one mentioned above. As Indiana’s children return to school, it is critical that they are aware of traffic safety and of the dangers of school buses. For instance, nearly half of the pedestrian injuries which are a part of the DOT report, occur in the morning hours, when it is often dark in some parts of the country. This is certainly true in Indiana where children often walk to school before daylight in the late fall, winter and spring.
In addition, many people are not at their best in the early morning. They may not be fully awake and are less likely to pay attention to their surroundings. This is true of both the children walking to school or getting off the bus, as well as the drivers who cause the injuries.
The National Safety Council publishes many helpful safety tips for parents and children as it relates to school bus safety. Parents should constantly remind their children of the dangers of being around any traffic, especially school buses. Children should stay away from the massive wheels, which feature no guards or protection and are open to the street. Many young children stand shorter than these tires and could easily be crushed. Children should stand far back from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop. The bus’s lights should be flashing and the door should be open, ready to receive the children. If possible, the children should line up away from the street. It is not uncommon for children to horse-play at the stop. This should never be allowed and parents who monitor the bus pickup should discourage this at all times.
They also note that children are at risk for injury from other vehicles on the streets, not only buses, which deserves its own post. However, it is clear to anyone who has waited with their child at the bus stop that one of the most dangerous moments in boarding a bus, is when they cross the street to get on the vehicle. Despite years of education on the matter and a state law in place to prohibit this activity, drivers continue to disregard bus signals. According to the Indiana.gov website, drivers who pass around a stopped bus or fail to stop when a bus is picking up children, may face severe penalties. Worse yet, these careless drivers are putting the lives of unaware children at great risk.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus-related accident or as a pedestrian, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Personal injury and wrongful death are serious matters and should be investigated by serious attorneys who are prepared to investigate the case. There are time restrictions on any personal injury claim and you should not delay contacting an attorney if you believe you may have a case that should be investigated.
The attorneys at the personal injury firm of Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP are interested in hearing your case. Call the office today to speak to one of their qualified and experienced attorneys.