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Tragic Crash Highlights Importance of School Bus Safety

The horrific school bus crash in Tennessee understandably has many San Diego parents concerned about their own children’s safety. Across California, more than one million children ride the bus to school every day.

Although the fatal Tennessee bus crash is still under investigation, the bus driver was the subject of several prior complaints. Students reported that he often drove at a high rate of speed and purposely swerved to cause them to fall down.

While school bus accidents do occur, they are relatively rare. Traveling on a school bus is six times safer than going to school in a motor vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 304 school-age children died in school transportation-related crashes from 2005 to 2014.

California is also one of the few states in the country to require seatbelts. In fact, California is the only state to mandate three-point seat belts on school buses made on and after July 2005.

As San Diego personal injury attorneys, it is difficult to see accident cases involving injuries to children, particularly when they could have been prevented. With this in mind, below are a few tips for avoiding a California school bus accident.

•When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.

•When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.

•Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.

•Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.

•Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

•Learn and obey the "alternately flashing warning light" system that school bus drivers use to alert motorists:

•Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.

•Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California bus or motor vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.