School Zone and School Bus Accidents
Drivers have a heightened responsibility to operate with care in school zones and near school buses. School bus drivers have the same responsibility.
If you or your child have been involved in a car accident in a school zone or on a school bus, and it was caused by negligence, you may be entitled to recover damages. Speak to an attorney to learn your rights.
School Zone Accidents
In Massachusetts, the speed limit for driving in a school zone is 20 mph. Drivers are required by law to stop for buses dropping off children and children in crosswalks. School parking lot accidents are frequent, though. Schofield Elementary School in Wellesley was the scene of one painful accident in May 2017. A driver struck an 8-year-old child who was crossing the school driveway. He was seriously injured and had to be flown to a Boston hospital for medical attention.
School Bus Accidents
School bus drivers can make mistakes and cause school bus accidents. But sometimes, other drivers on the road are to blame.
Drivers are required by law to stay 100 feet behind a school bus at all times. They must pay attention to the vehicle’s flashing lights. There are fines and criminal penalties for failure to obey the law and make proper stops. Children and others injured by negligent drivers can also file a claim seeking compensation for injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines school-transported crashes as those involving a school bus or a non-bus functioning as a school bus (such as a school van) which are transporting children to or from school or related activities.
The NHTSA reported 115 school transportation-related fatalities in 2015. The number has ranged between 150 and 115 each year from 2006 to 2015. Many others are injured in school bus accidents and it is a frightening experience.
School bus accidents can happen when bus drivers are not paying attention, are overtired or are using cell phones. Under Massachusetts law, school bus drivers are not allowed to use cell phones. They cannot make phone calls or text while drive.
Many school bus accidents involve children who are boarding or exiting a bus. They can also involve children who are riding as passengers. Buses must meet state and federal safety regulations. But many states, including Massachusetts, do not require buses to use safety belts, though a growing number of local school districts are adopting their own seat belt policies.
School bus accidents can also involve other pedestrians. In May 2017, an 8th grader in Acton was hit by a school van at the intersection of Main Street and Hayward Roads. The middle school student was walking to school and the van, a special education van for the Westford public schools, was heading to that town.
Other recent school bus accidents:
- In January 2017, a pick-up truck driver crossed lanes without checking on Interstate 95 in Weston, striking a school bus of middle school students from Boston. More than 20 people were transported to local hospitals to be treated for minor injuries. The truck driver was cited by police.
- A Lowell school bus collided with a van in Bedford in April 2017, the crash sending 23 students and the bus driver to hospitals. The van was towing a trailer and hit the back of the bus, according to news reports.
Car accidents involving young children are challenging because injuries often require specialized treatment. Parents must take time away from work to help their children through rehabilitation. The investigation and claim process becomes more complex when a school bus or commercial vehicle is involved, as these vehicles face additional government regulations.
The Boston car accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C., are experienced in handling complex motor vehicle and transportation accident claims. Our injury lawyers have represented injured plaintiffs in car accidents, train accidents, truck accidents and bus accidents.
If you or your child has been involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to recover damages such as lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. You have a limited period of time to file a claim so it is critical to contact an experienced Boston car accident attorney as soon as possible. For a free legal consultation, contact us today at 617-723-7676 or 800-379-1244 or use our contact form.