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Several accidents involving school buses have recently occurred in the southeast Virginia (VA) and northeast North Carolina (NC). The most recent occurred last week in Suffolk, Virginia, and involved al bus carrying 25 elementary school children. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to the children; however, that and the other incidents can’t help but make us think about the importance of safe driving around school buses.

To learn more about plane, bus, light-rail and boat accidents and injuries, check out these other articles:

While a school bus crash may very well be a parent’s worst nightmare, the good news is that data on school transportation ccident actually show relatively low numbers of fatalities and injuries. Each year, on average, 19 children using school transportation vehicles and pedestrians die in accidents. The greatest risks to children aren’t related to riding the bus itself, though, but to getting on and off the bus.

When we’re talking about the safety of our children, no amount of injuries or accidents is acceptable. That’s why it’s so important for all of us to follow safe driving practices around school buses:

  • Be alert to children who are playing or congregating near bus stops.
  • Slow down when driving through school zones or near bus stops.
  • Watch for children who may dart towards a bus without looking for traffic.
  • Know and follow the school bus laws in your state. North Carolina, for example, has very clear rules about which lanes of traffic are required to stop when the bus does.
  • Never pass a stopped school bus.
  • Obey the flashing light system that school buses use. Yellow flashing lights on a bus indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate that the bus is stopped and children will be getting off. Wait for the bus to start moving before you continue driving.

Children can also play a role in preventing school bus accidents by practicing these basic safety habits:

  • Arriving early to the bus stop.
  • Waiting at least 6 feet away from the curb for the bus to approach and stop.
  • Waiting until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says its okay before getting on the bus.
  • Never walking behind a bus
  • Making sure to walk at least 10 feet in front of any bus and making sure the driver can see you and that you can see him or her.

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.

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