Because they transport young children, school buses must adhere to strict safety regulations. Below, our world-famous school bus accident lawyer, Michael Ehline, will discuss the main five protocols for school bus drivers and share some secrets to recovering maximum compensation after a California or even Texas school bus collision.
Here are the five main rules in a nutshell:
- Secure the School Bus
- Check the Safety of the Passengers
- Contact Authorities
- Document the Event
- Avoid Releasing the Students or Providing Statements.
There are also stop-arm laws to prevent passenger vehicles from illegally passing a school bus. This is why they are the safest vehicles on the road. However, no matter how safe these vehicles may be, school bus accidents occur.
Unfortunately, four to six children per year die on school buses, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the event of a school bus accident, the driver must adhere to certain safety procedures to protect students.
If your child was involved in a school bus accident and you suspect that their injuries were caused by the negligence of one or more parties, it’s important to get legal counsel. Contact Ehline Law Firm today to book your free consultation!
School Bus Drivers Have a Duty to Protect Students and Prevent Accidents
First thing, before driving a bus full of kids, drivers are required to follow certain protocols to prevent accidents from happening. These drivers must ensure the safety of their passengers and report the accident accurately even if they are to blame for causing the danger.
Because of this have special training and duties as common carriers, including:
- Keeping an eye out for students on the street, having fun around the bus stops, or running onto the road.
- Observing their state’s bus laws.
- Releasing stop arms and flashing red lights when stopped for passenger loading or unloading and flashing yellow lights while getting prepared to load or unload pupils and keep pedestrians safe.
- Completing and updating the necessary school bus driver safety training as well as how to evacuate and avoid fatalities and ensure safety.
Drivers Can Be Held Responsible If They Do Not Follow These Protocols
A school bus driver may be held accountable to families for an incident if they operate their bus incorrectly and cause one, or the school where they work may also be at fault for what happened while operating as school transportation.
That means they would be responsible for all accident-related expenses and injuries, including medical costs not covered by insurance.
What School Bus Drivers Need to do After an Accident
Because school bus drivers transport children, it is important that they follow certain protocols to ensure the safety of their passengers following a collision. Failure to follow these procedures could be seen as negligence. Let’s take a look at the protocols for school bus driver after an accident.
1. Secure the School Bus
School bus drivers must ensure that the vehicle is securely fastened and out of further danger as soon as the accident occurs. This includes putting up the necessary warning signs and stopping the bus until instructed to move again.
2. Check the Safety of the Passengers
The next step is to make a list of every passenger on the school bus and look for any injured children. Drivers should provide any necessary initial assistance while awaiting emergency medical services if they possess the expertise required.
School Bus Drivers Must Remove Students If It Is Unsafe for Them to Stay on the Bus
Moreover, the bus driver must remove all children from the vehicle if it is unsafe for them to remain inside. Suppose there is a fire hazard. In that case, the school bus driver must move the kids at least 100 feet from the vehicle. They must keep the children on the bus in all other cases.
3. Contact Authorities
The driver must swiftly contact the radio dispatcher of the relevant department with the following information about the incident after securing the vehicle and all students:
- Location of the accident
- The route and bus number
- How serious the crash is, and whether there were any injuries.
When to Contact Law Enforcement
In the event that an ambulance has to be dispatched to the accident scene, law enforcement and emergency medical services should be informed if there are casualties. The incident needs to be reported to the school’s headmaster as well, in case their help is required.
4. Document the Event
To record the details, the school bus driver must use the accident investigation kit available on the bus. They will need to note the names, numbers, and addresses of any witnesses they can find at the accident scene.
It’s a good idea to write down the details of the accident, including any other drivers and vehicles who may have been involved.
5. Avoid Releasing the Students or Providing Statements
The 5th and big final rule? Kids are safer sitting on the bus than outside, except when evacuation is required. School bus drivers should not allow the students to go to neighbors, passersby, or anybody else. They should also not let kids leave the area on their own.
Furthermore, he or she should not make any statements to other onlookers, the press, or insurers. The only people they should contact concerning the accident are the school, eyewitnesses, and law enforcement.
The school will assume its own responsibilities after the bus driver reports the collision.
No matter how bad the bus accident, the principal of the school or other members of staff will get in touch with each student’s parents to inform them of the incident and let them know how their child is doing.
In certain circumstances, they might also:
- Ensure that children who aren’t being sent to the hospital are examined by doctors before being discharged to their parents.
- Check each student’s enrollment card to see their health records.
- Inform the emergency personnel of any special student medical requirements by sending a school staff member to the accident scene.
- Let the school staff know what transpired.
- Go to the hospital if any serious injuries have occurred.
Additionally, a school nurse will be on call at the facility if immediate medical assistance is required.
What If the School Bus Accident Is Not Serious?
Since school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road, not all bus accidents cause students to be severely injured. Here’s what bus drivers need to do when these less serious accidents occur, resulting in minor injuries:
- He or she must assess all students and inquire about any known wounds or complaints of pain.
- If a student complains of discomfort or injury, the driver needs to phone 911 and ask for an ambulance.
Drivers Can Proceed on Their Route
School bus drivers can proceed on their route and have the kids examined by a nurse once they get to the school if there have been no reports of injuries and the vehicle is on schedule to arrive there.
Get in Touch with a School Bus Accident Attorney to Learn About the 5 Bus Accident Protocols for Drivers
School bus drivers are obligated to follow the safety protocols mentioned above. Failure to do so may be seen as negligence. If your child was injured because of another party, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden yourself. You can file a personal injury claim to pursue monetary compensation. To receive professional assistance with a legal claim if your child’s injuries resulted from an act of negligence, it’s important to talk to an experienced team of legal experts.
At Ehline Law Firm, we have nearly two decades of securing favorable verdicts for our clients and handle each case with the compassion, care, and seriousness it deserves. These 5 protocols are just a few safety standards for drivers to follow. Call (833) LETS-SUE or complete the online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our bus accident lawyers, preparing it for victory!