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A school bus is statistically the safest form of school transportation and more than 25 million American children ride a bus to school. However, as children board and disembark from the bus, they can become casualties of pedestrian accidents due to drivers who ignore both the rules of the road and rules about school bus stops.
State laws vary, but when a school bus stops and displays its flashing red lights, drivers are required to stop and wait until the bus is ready to move on. Many drivers refuse to wait and speed around the bus, putting children who may be crossing the road in serious danger, and potentially causing bus accidents. In a 2014 survey of more than 97,000 bus drivers, there were 75,000 reported instances in one day of drivers illegally passing school buses that were dropping off or picking up children.
A major risk for school children is distracted driving. A recent study of distracted driving in school zones found schools that have a lower speed limit in the school zone had more distracted drivers than schools with no change in the speed limit. After observing 41,426 drivers crossing through a school zone on the day of the study, one in six were distracted. The women observed were more distracted by their cell phones, other electronics, and grooming. Men and women in the study were equally likely to be distracted by eating, reading, and reaching behind the seat. Overall, the number of distracted women was slightly higher. Car drivers paid more attention to the road than their counterparts driving SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks.
Safety experts agree that laws against cell phone use do help to curb distracted driving. Studies reveal that drivers in states with laws restricting cell phone use are 13 percent less likely to be distracted. However, many police officers report that some drivers continue to use their phones by keeping it hidden on their laps. This avoidance tactic is highly dangerous because it means the driver is not only texting behind the wheel, but has their eyes down and off the road while doing so.
When it comes to distracted driving, any kind of cellphone use is high risk because the driver’s cognitive, manual, and visual abilities are all being divided between the task of driving and their cellphone. Some activities distract the driver only visually, manually, or cognitively, but cellphone use involves all three, leaving the driver with much less attention for the road – or for school buses and their young passengers.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Rhoades & Morrow, we provide personalized legal representation for each one of our clients. Call 302-834-8484 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Bear personal injury lawyer about your case. You can also contact us online. We have three convenient locations in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford to serve clients in upstate and downstate Delaware.