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Victor C. Mitchener, Attorney

Joseph H. Downer, Attorney

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3 road rules to combat school bus accidents

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury

A new academic season is upon North Carolina students and their parents. It is that time of the year when distinct yellow school buses transporting young learners flood the state’s roadways.

In effect, the Department of Transportation (DOT) reminds all road users to strictly follow the rules. By doing so, everyone takes part in avoiding school bus-related accidents from dampening the statewide enthusiasm brought by the opening of schools.

When should a driver stop for a school bus?

Although it might be easy to conclude that crashes involving school buses are rare, statistics prove otherwise. From almost 400 school bus incidents in 2020, the numbers grew to 1,075 in 2022. Injuries and deaths caused by school bus collisions also increased from 234 and two, respectively, in 2020 to 786 and eight in 2022.

The DOT reiterates the following safety measures to observe when driving with a school bus in sight:

  • Traffic must stop from both directions when a school bus stops in a four-lane without a median separation, and in a two-lane roadway with or without a center turning lane
  • Traffic following a school bus must stop when a school bus stops in any divided highway with a median separation, or in a roadway with four or more lanes with a center turning lane
  • Colored flashing lights indicate that a school bus is about to stop on yellow, and about to come to a complete stop on red and on an extended “stop” sign

School buses also have front, side and rear blind spots. Thus, it will make a significant difference if students, their parents, and other road users surrounding the area act in the safest way possible when driving around and getting on or off a school bus.

Can collective efforts make the roads safer?

Everyone uses North Carolina roads as a school bus, car or truck driver, passenger, cyclist, motorcyclist, biker or pedestrian. Shared responsibility can help students arrive at their schools and return to their homes in one piece. But even the most intentional parents may not guarantee their child’s safety. When a loved one suffers injuries or death, a legal representative can alleviate the emotional and financial distress by guiding the family in recovering compensation specific to their circumstances.