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School bus systems are a mainstay when it comes to transporting students from point a to point b. The unfortunate reality is that while we’d like to think of these systems as a safe and effective way to get our children to and from school, bus accidents can and will happen. The Houston school bus accident lawyers at Adame Garza LLP see all too often the damage these tragic accidents can do to entire families.
A recent incident in Indiana left three young children dead and one 11-year-old boy injured, when a driver passed a stopped school bus as it was dropping off children at their bus stop and hit them. The driver was arrested and subsequently charged with three counts of reckless homicide in the deaths of the three children—who all happened to be siblings. The driver was also charged with one misdemeanor count of disregarding a stop sign and causing injury.
While this tragic situation is heartbreaking, it highlights the many safety risks children face when they get on and off the school bus each day. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than one million children rely on school transportation each day. There are over 9,000 public schools in Texas alone, making it more important than ever for children and motorists alike to follow basic safety practices when it comes to traffic and pedestrian safety.
In Texas, drivers must stop when a school bus is stopped and displaying a visual sign with flashing lights. These signals indicate there are children coming on and off the bus and it is not safe for traffic to flow normally. Drivers cannot proceed until the bus moves, the visual sign is deactivated, or the bus driver directs them. Traffic must also come to a complete stop in this situation when driving on an undivided road.
If these laws are not followed, both local and state law enforcement can write you a ticket and fines can add up to thousands of dollars in fees. Repeat offenders can have their licenses suspended for up to six months, and tickets for illegally passing a school bus cannot be dismissed by taking defensive driving classes. Additionally, if a school bus is illegally passed and an injury does occur, criminal charges could be filed.
The times when students are entering and exiting the school bus can be the most dangerous times during a child’s trip. With this in mind, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reminds motorists to be aware children may not look both ways when crossing the street after getting off the bus and to be very alert at these times.
If you or a loved one were involved in a school bus accident, the experienced Houston school bus accident lawyers at Adame Garza LLP can analyze the details of your case and help you obtain full compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation.