Child safety should be a top priority for every driver on South Carolina roadways, beginning with the school bus drivers. There can be few worse phone calls to receive than one telling you that your child has been injured or killed in an accident while on the school bus. And there can be few betrayals that hurt worse than finding out that the school district responsible for hiring safe bus drivers to handle our most precious resources failed to meet its duty.
It is, however, an unfortunate event that occurs all too often, and 2015 has seen several serious accidents involving school buses in South Carolina. May of 2015 marked the first fatality from a school bus accident in South Carolina in more than 20 years, when an Aiken County school bus crashed into an 18-wheeler, leading to the death of a four-year-old child.
What are the Requirements to Drive a School Bus in South Carolina?
The State of South Carolina requires that school bus drivers complete a 20-hour school bus training class mandated and administered by the state, and earn a CDL Class B driver’s license. After that, all drivers must have 20 hours of training behind the wheel, as well as participate in at least 10 hours of continuing education each year. Prospective bus drivers who have more than four points against their driving record in a 12-month period, or a license suspension for a moving violation in the past five years, are prohibited from driving a school bus in South Carolina.
In spite of these regulations, there are numerous accidents caused by negligence of the school bus driver in South Carolina every year, such as one earlier this year, when a school bus driver bringing 32 children to school fell asleep and crashed into a mobile home.
In spite of this, school buses remain the safest way to transport children to and from school. It is important to make sure that the school system does its part, by making sure to hire qualified and competent school bus drivers.
School Bus Safety Tips for Our Children
While there is little our children can do to prevent a school bus accident, all of us can do our part to lower the instances of these tragedies. Leaving plenty of time in the morning to get ready so that nobody is rushing, and waiting with your kids at the bus stop can help prevent a pedestrian accident. Whether or not you wait with your children at the bus stop, teach them to stand far back from the curb. Teach your children to be aware of what is going on around them, especially with the traffic, and not to wear headphones outside, or play with a phone or other electronic device while waiting for the bus to arrive.
When getting off the bus, tell your child to never bend over to pick something up when in front of the bus, as the driver might not see him or her and begin moving. If your child has to cross the street in front of the bus, teach him or her to take several giant steps until they are way ahead of the bus (and of course, to still look both ways when crossing the street).
School Bus Safety Tips for the Rest of Us
The number one thing all of us driving on South Carolina roads can do is to slow down. All South Carolinians need to slow down when driving in school zones, near bus stops, and wherever we see children. If a school bus is stopped, and its lights are flashing, you must stop. If the lights are flashing yellow, the school bus is about to stop, so you should be prepared for that. Most importantly, never pass a stopped school bus with the stop arm extended.
David Aylor Law Offices Can Help You
You need an experienced bus accident attorney if your child or loved one has been injured in a school bus accident in the Charleston area. You can call or email David Aylor Law Offices today for a free, no obligation consultation.