A Jamestown, North Carolina school bus accident last week is a reminder to parents and children of the risk associated with riding a bus and the obligation of bus drivers and school districts to keep children safe during transport.
As we reported earlier this year on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, school buses are a relatively safe form of transportation — with an average of just 19 fatalities occurring each year in the United States.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that half of those are pedestrian accidents or accidents as students are loading or unloading.
However, thousands of others are injured each year in busing accidents, and car accidents in Charlotte, Raleigh or elsewhere in North Carolina can quickly be fatal when a school bus or large truck is involved.
In this case, the Jamestown News reports that the Guilford County school bus was carrying 49 middle school students when a tow truck ran a red light at the intersection of Vickrey Chapel and Guilford College roads.
The front of the bus was severely damaged and the bus driver and seven students were injured. The 45-year-old Dallas, North Carolina tow truck driver was charged with running a red light.
“School bus accidents are so unpredictable and, unfortunately, some type of accident is going to occur,” Jeff Harris, the school’s transportation director, told the Jamestown News. “We just have to pray for the best.”
He said the school system in Guilford County uses 624 school buses that carry more than 40,000 students a day.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina General Assembly continues to dither about whether to require school buses to have seat belts. A federal rule announced earlier this year will begin to require seat belts in large commercial buses. However, school buses were excluded, in part because of cost considerations.
If you are dealing with a child injury in Durham, Fayetteville, Cary, or elsewhere in North or South Carolina, contact Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.