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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Why Aren't School Buses Safe As They Should Be?

On the 19th of this month a crash took place between a school bus and an automobile in Newark, NJ. As a result, two adults and 10 children were injured and taken to hospital. The injuries were not considered life threatening, but such an accident certainly loses the public’s confidence when using bus transport to get their children to school on time.

Every day, 450,000 children throughout the United States travel to school by bus, many of which are specifically school buses. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported that there are, on average, 137 annual fatalities in school bus crashes. In addition to that, 17,000 students end up visiting an emergency room every year.

Parents wave goodbye to their children every morning and believe that the school bus drivers they entrust their children will not have an accident. Like any other motorist, they have to follow all road laws and are expected to be particularly careful when driving with young lives on board.

Apart from getting children to school, buses are seen as a convenient means of transport for thousands of New York residents every day. Tragically, though, every year bus accidents inflict serious personal injury on hundreds of passengers. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that in 2003 alone, 440 people died in bus crashes.

Bus companies and their bus drivers are given the responsibility of looking after their passengers. This means that it is their duty to get passengers safely to their destination. However, not all drivers operate their buses as safely as they should, despite the responsibility they are given to ensure the travelling public has a safe journey.

Only too often, innocent passengers are injured due to the negligent driving behavior of bus drivers. However, it is not always the fault of the driver, as sometimes poor bus maintenance or the use of defective parts cause accidents to happen.

Due to the significant weight and size of a bus, any accident can cause severe injury to passengers, pedestrians or the occupants of another vehicle who happens to be involved. The fact that many buses are still not fitted with seatbelts adds to the severity of injuries when the bus driver has to brake suddenly.

If you are injured in a bus accident you should get any necessary medical treatment first. The police should then be contacted to make sure they have a full account of the circumstances surrounding the accident. The name and address of the driver should be firmly established as well as the contact details of any witnesses.

If negligent driving or a poorly maintained bus caused you to be injured in a crash, you could be entitled to file a claim for compensation. You should do this through an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands bus accidents. If you don’t take on the service of a lawyer, but try to pursue a claim on your own, then expect to be confronted with the bus company’s legal representatives, who will vigorously defend their involvement in the accident.

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