The video above is WISH-TV coverage of a school bus accident in Indiana on March 12, 2012, one of three separate school bus accidents on the same day. The trio of crashes led to discussion in various outlets about the issue of installing seat belts on school buses, a move that some feel is long overdue while others feel is too costly for vehicles that are already far safer than other forms of transportation. On March 22, 2012, one child was killed and five more were in critical condition after a school bus collided with a semitrailer truck about two hours south of Orlando. This month has seemingly seen a spate of school bus accidents around the country, and many parents have to wonder if we are really doing all we can to keep kids safe on these vehicles.
Florida is one of only six states in the nation that require school buses to be equipped with seat belts. While this exempts the state, counties, school districts and school bus operators from liability for personal injury caused solely because a passenger was not wearing a seat belt, parents should know that they may still be able to take legal action if a school bus accident was the result of driver negligence, defective products or improper maintenance.
While seat belts could indeed help reduce the number of fatalities or even the severity of any injuries suffered during a school bus accident, the devices themselves will not prevent the accidents. Vehicles such as buses are designed to carry a higher capacity of passengers, but they need to be properly maintained and safely operated. While this holds true for school buses, it applies to many other forms of public transportation as well, and on Friday we will examine some of the other types of vehicles where poor maintenance or operator negligence can lead to personal injuries.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers