While school buses are among the safest methods of transportation for children, there is a greater risk of injury at bus stops as children get on or off the bus. Oftentimes, negligent drivers are responsible for accidents that take place at bus stops across the country. Children, parents, and other drivers need to be aware of the risks present at bus stops.
What is the Danger Zone?
At bus stops, there is an area known as the Danger Zone, which consists of a 10-foot-wide space on all sides of school buses. This is where accidents are more likely to cause child pedestrian injuries. Children should stay at least 10 feet away from the bus at a stop to remain out of the Danger Zone, and should never walk behind the bus.
Parents should let children know that other drivers may not stop for a school bus and that it’s always important to look both ways before crossing the street. Other potential dangers that children should look out for include strangers at the bus stop behaving suspiciously or offering a ride, gang activity in certain areas, bullying, weapons, or unusual packages sitting at the bus stop.
The Risks of Distracted and Negligent Driving
Distracted driving incidents are more commonplace every year with the increased use of cell phones, texting, and performing other tasks behind the wheel. Distracted driving often leads
to serious accidents involving schoolchildren and other pedestrians. Drivers must avoid distractions at all times.
Distracted driving is considered a form of negligence, which could lead to serious legal repercussions in the event of an accident.
Types of Pedestrian Accidents Involving Children at Bus Stops
When drivers practice negligence on the road, they put schoolchildren and other pedestrians at risk. In addition to distracted driving, types of pedestrian accidents that have injured children include:
Drivers backing out of a driveway or parking space may not see children in the path of their vehicle if mirrors are improperly set, or if they’re distracted. Oftentimes, backover accidents involve relatives, neighbors, or family friends that the child knows.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Many accidents, including those that take place at bus stops, involve drivers who had been drinking with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, exceeding the legal limit.
Accidents in School Zones
When school buses are unloading or loading students at the school immediately before and after school hours, children may be at risk of accidents in school zones. Drivers may fail to follow speed limit postings, or they may not watch for crossing guards and schoolchildren.
Accidents Taking Place in the Afternoon and Evening
Children may be vulnerable to accidents in the afternoon or evening between noon and 6:00 PM. Older and younger children could be equally at risk, as children in junior high or high school often walk home from extracurricular activities during this time.
With the risks present at bus stops, parents should educate their children about potential dangers and drivers should practice extreme caution in these areas.