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Everyone responsible for bus rider safety

Scores of North Carolina children join the 23 million youngsters who ride the bus to school nationally. In fact, the school bus system is widely acknowledged as one of the safest public transport efforts in the nation, according to a variety of research studies. Still, a shocking number of students find their way into emergency rooms nationwide thanks to the negligence of school bus drivers. About 17,000 children suffer injuries in bus-related crashes.

Even in cases of relatively small accidents, communities can easily be turned upside down because of the implications of unsafe school buses. As a result, a variety of initiatives have been implemented to help children understand more about bus safety. This is particularly important when considering that the majority of bus fatalities do not happen within the bus, but rather involve pedestrians, students exiting the bus or even other drivers.

Children throughout North Carolina are taught about the bus "danger zone," in which the bus driver cannot see them. Kids are told to take 10 big steps away from the bus when they exit in any direction; that way, the driver is certain to see them. Kids who cross a street to board the bus are also given extra education about traffic safety, and children who ride the bus are taught how to properly enter and exit the bus. These facts are critical, considering that about one in four bus injuries involve getting on or off of the bus.

Other drivers should also understand the rules and regulations that prevent them from passing a stopped bus. Every North Carolinian can play a role in protecting children who are using our state's school bus system.

For those children who have suffered serious or catastrophic injuries during a bus crash, the only recourse may be to seek financial compensation from the school district, bus company or at-fault driver. This financial compensation can help pay for medical costs, along with pain and suffering, disability and emotional distress.

Source:  www.wdam.com, "Thousands of children injured yearly in school bus accidents" No author given, Oct. 11, 2013

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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