School is back in session and that means hundreds of school buses are back on North Carolina roads. Those big, bright yellow vehicles are pretty hard to miss, yet school bus accidents happen. School bus drivers are required to complete training to not only ensure they can handle the massive vehicle they will be driving, but also to ensure they are able to handle the precious cargo they are transporting – your children.
Although the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined that school buses are the safest mode of transportation for children to get back and forth to school, accidents still happen and children do sustain injuries from these crashes.
Common Causes of School Bus Accidents
Distracted Driving: Just like other vehicle drivers, school bus drivers can become distracted. The difference is that the distraction is part of their job. Imagine you are driving a school bus, transporting dozens of students of all ages, grades, and personalities to school. It is not difficult to imagine that a couple of students horsing around in the back of the bus could cause the driver to take his eyes off the road for seconds to see what the commotion is all about. And in those seconds, a crash occurs.
Driver Error: Although school drivers must go through training to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL), as well as training to learn how to properly operate the bus, driver error can occur. A driver who takes a too-wide turn or fails to check one of his mirrors can easily cause a serious accident. And just like other vehicle accidents, driver fatigue may also be an issue, especially with the early morning schedule many school buses have.
Mechanical Failure: A school bus may be involved in an accident because of mechanical failure. A tire could blow or brakes could fail. When these types of incidents occur, the question becomes was the mechanical failure due to a defective part or was the bus not properly maintained and inspected on a regular basis.
Contact a Carolinas Injury Attorney
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, contact a skilled North Carolina school bus accident attorney to discuss what legal options you may have. These types of accidents can be complex because you are usually dealing with the school district and the district’s insurance carrier. It can become more complex if the school bus is owned by a private busing company and has been contracted by the district to transport students.