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School bus drivers have the responsibility to safely transport children to and from school each day. Any parent who puts their child on a school bus each morning would be horrified to know that 118 bus drivers were caught driving under the influence in the last five years, according to a report done by the Pew Research’s Stateline.
In the cases identified by the report, most of the impaired bus drivers were under the influence of alcohol, while a third of them also had drugs in their systems. Testing for drugs and alcohol verified the intoxicants, but 260 of the bus drivers declined to be tested. The inebriation of the drivers was discovered in a third of the incidents due to law enforcement investigations following each crash. Three dozen children were injured in these accidents, and some had to be transported to the hospital for treatment.
If your child is injured in a bus accident caused by an intoxicated bus driver, your legal options are more complicated than they would be for a typical car accident injury. Normally, damages in a car accident are awarded through an insurance claim or a claim against the at-fault driver. When the driver is an employee, there are additional avenues to explore when assigning liability for the accident. Any party that is found negligent may be held liable. The legal theory of negligence requires proof that someone had a duty to practice responsible care but breached that duty, resulting in injuries.
In the case of an accident caused by an intoxicated school bus driver, a clear duty to execute responsible care lies with the driver. The breach occurs when the driver operates their bus while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the accident causes injuries, the driver may be held liable. However, there may be additional entities who hold some liability for the accident.
If the bus driver is an employee of a bus company that provides transportation for the school children, the bus company may be held liable for the accident. This could be true if it can be proven that the bus company had a duty to properly screen its employees for a history of DUI incidents or to routinely drug test them. If it is found that the company breached its duty, the company could be held liable.
Similarly, if the bus driver is contracted with the school district or a government agency, that entity may be liable for the accident. However, bringing charges against a government agency often involves a complex process and strict filing deadlines.
If your child was injured in a school bus accident, you may be able to collect compensation to help with your child’s medical bills or other costs related to their injuries. Our accomplished Bear bus accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will help you execute claims against all liable parties, including the bus driver, the bus company, and the school district. Contact us online or call us at 302-834-8484 to schedule a free consultation. With offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we also serve clients in Elsmere and Seaford.
The Delaware State Police urge drivers to pay attention to school bus warnings. According to a recent survey of Delaware public school bus drivers, motorists in this state frequently drive past school buses illegally, putting children’s lives at risk. Ignoring school bus warnings can result in fines, driver’s license suspension, and imprisonment. Additionally, those who cause injury to children or other pedestrians may be liable for damages in personal injury lawsuits.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that students are approximately 70 times more likely to get to school safely by school bus than by any other vehicle. Although school buses are a safer mode of transportation than automobiles, children are still at risk when they are waiting at the bus stop, entering or exiting the school bus, and crossing the street. Most children who are injured in school bus-related crashes are not on the bus; they are hit by drivers who ignore school bus warnings and illegally drive past while students are getting on and off the bus.
In Delaware, if a school bus flashes its lights and extends its stop arm, drivers traveling in the same direction must stop and wait for the school bus to move or deactivate the stop lights before proceeding. Drivers traveling in the opposite direction of the bus must also stop unless they are across four or more lanes of traffic.
In 2018, a survey of Delaware public school bus drivers revealed that many drivers continue to flout the law despite safety concerns and existing penalties. Over the course of only one day, the bus drivers reported 1,108 illegal passes while having their lights flashing and stop arms extended. Parents in Delaware continue to express concern over their children’s safety due to such frequent violations and the potentially catastrophic consequences.
School bus accidents are often preventable. The Delaware State Police department recommends that drivers:
If your child was injured in a school bus accident, contact a Wilmington personal injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We understand how stressful it can be when motorists do not follow the driving laws. We will fight for your rights and obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state, including those in Elsmere and Seaford. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 302-427-9500.
With Uber and Lyft providing us with transportation literally at our fingertips, many may not think twice about stepping into someone else’s car. However, a deadly limo crash in New York earlier this fall has many rethinking hiring a driving company to take them where they need to go.
An investigation revealed that the limousine had failed inspection the month before and was not supposed to be on the road. With twenty dead, officials are claiming this was the deadliest crash in the nation in the last decade.
Although buses and limos are generally considered to be a safe means of transportation, due to their high passenger occupancy and sheer size, any bus collision can be deadly and impact dozens of people.
Several weeks after the horrific New York accident, a Delaware motorcyclist lost his life due to a collision with a bus.
However, passengers do have a way to protect themselves from negligent business practices in the transportation industry. Before calling for a ride, visit the federal website to learn if the bus or limousine company is in violation of the laws put into place to keep passengers safe.
Customers can look up a transportation company’s safety record by visiting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) online database. Finding the exact company in the database can be tricky, so have the formal name of the company or the US DOT number handy before searching.
Once the bus or limo company is found, the top of the screen will have the companies overall rating, such as “satisfactory”.
Below this, the database has the following safety categories ready for review:
The categories that have violations will have a yellow caution sign attached. Further information on those violations can be viewed as well.
For example, Greyhound lines has an overall satisfactory rating; however, they have 111 violations for HOS. What this means is that drivers were found behind the wheel working beyond the limit of hours that are considered safe 111 times.
However, the FMCSA warns that unless a company has an overall unsatisfactory rating, consumers should not draw conclusions about a carrier’s overall safety, solely based on the data displayed in this system.
Although commercial bus and limousine company information can be found on the federal website, consumers should also be wary of the fact that vehicles with unfixed recalls put passengers and others on the road at risk.
Uber and Lyft require a vehicle inspection, but they do not require drivers to fix recall issues.
Customers that have the free MYCARFAX app can type in the rideshare vehicle’s license plate number to check if the car has any open recalls, and what the issues, if any, there may be.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a bus accident, limo accident, or a rideshare accident, contact an experienced Wilmington bus accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Call our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500 or Bear office at 302-834-8484 or complete an online form to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford, with offices conveniently located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford.
On Wednesday morning, four victims sustained personal injuries in a DART bus crash. The accident occurred in New Castle, Delaware around 7:30 am on Route 273 at Edinburgh Drive. Three individuals from the bus incurred injuries while an occupant of a pickup truck was hurt in the DART bus crash.
Buses offer commuters a reliable and economical form of travel and populate many roads daily. Unfortunately, this also means that the possibility of bus accidents increases, and leads to the number of personal injuries and fatalities on the road. Due to the size and girth of buses, when a smaller vehicle is struck by a bus, the accident could result in catastrophic injuries.
If you or your loved ones sustained personal injuries in a bus accident, contact our Wilmington bus accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online to see how we can help you. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Lewes, Georgetown, and Seaford as well as communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.