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IL injury lawyerWhen your child waves goodbye and climbs onto their school bus in the morning, you expect that they are going to make it to school and back safely. After all, school bus drivers know that they are carrying precious cargo. You would think that the safety training school bus drivers undergo would prevent most accidents and injuries, but this is not always the case. Just like city bus drivers, school bus drivers sometimes drive carelessly. Even if the bus driver did nothing wrong, issues like poor maintenance or other drivers can still cause accidents that injure children. Having a child get injured in a school bus crash or other accident can feel like a nightmare come true for many parents. If your family has experienced this disaster, you should turn to a skilled attorney for help securing compensation on your child’s behalf.

What Are the Most Common Causes of School Bus Accidents?

You would expect that at a minimum, the person tasked with driving groups of children to school each day would be well-trained and sober. You would also expect that the bus carrying your child is in good condition. You may be surprised to learn that common causes of school bus accidents include:

  • Driver intoxication - While is it rather rare for a school bus driver to be drunk very early in the morning, it is less uncommon for a driver to be using illicit stimulants. Like some long-distance truck drivers, some school bus drivers will use drugs with the false belief that the effects will keep them awake and alert. Instead, it makes them more likely to crash.
  • Poor training - While all school bus drivers have undergone some form of specialized training, these training programs are often not as thorough or intensive as they should be. Many school bus accidents are caused by a driver being put into a situation they have not been properly trained to handle.
  • Other traffic - Even the best school bus driver in the world could still get into a crash caused by another, more careless, driver. It is surprisingly common for school buses to be rear-ended by drivers who were distracted and failed to notice the bus stopping.
  • Maintenance - It generally falls to the county or school district to make sure that all school buses are well-maintained and safe to ride in. However, school bus maintenance issues do sometimes fall through the cracks. Anything from brake failure to a tire blowout can become very dangerous to the occupants.
  • Distraction - As you can imagine, driving a bus full of young children can be extremely distracting. However, drivers are expected to have control over their passengers.

These are just a few of the most common causes of school bus accidents. Your attorney will want to investigate to determine what type of negligence - and on whose part - caused the accident.

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Il accident lawyerMany parents rely on school buses to transport their children to and from school. While the vast majority of school bus trips are completed without incident, car crashes involving school buses can and do happen. Just recently, a school bus driver allegedly caused a crash while students were on board the bus. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt in the accident. The bus driver is now facing charges for drunk driving.

Bus Collision in Deer Park

The crash, which occurred on February 17, 2022, was caused by many different factors. Authorities say that the 61-year-old bus driver was driving north on Ela Road when he made a left turn onto Cuba Road and failed to yield to oncoming traffic. The slick, snow-covered roads made it difficult for other drivers to stop in time, and another vehicle plowed into the bus.

Police officers arrived at the scene of the accident and began investigating the circumstances of the crash. At this point, officers detected signs that the bus driver was intoxicated. Chemical blood alcohol content tests revealed that the bus driver’s BAC was over twice the legal limit. The driver now faces felony charges for aggravated driving under the influence (DUI).

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IL injury lawyerWith many Illinois students returning to in-person schooling in the coming weeks, school buses will become a common sight again on the roads. Just like any other motor vehicle, school buses are sometimes involved in accidents that result in serious injuries. Although these accidents are fairly uncommon, they can be some of the most complicated when it comes to recovering compensation. If you or your child is injured in a school bus accident, a personal injury attorney can help you determine who is at fault and take the appropriate steps to settle or resolve your claim.

School Bus Accidents in Illinois

Illinois has had its fair share of serious school bus accidents, with perhaps the most notable being a 1995 railroad crossing collision in Fox River Grove, in which seven students lost their lives. Certainly, not every school bus accident results in such tragic losses, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that school buses are actually one of the safest forms of transportation for passengers. However, in 2019, there were still more than 1,200 school bus accidents in Illinois. More than 200 of those crashes resulted in injuries.

All told, in 2019, 85 school-age children and 39 school bus drivers were injured in Illinois school bus accidents. Occupants of other vehicles are also at risk of injuries in collisions with school buses, and they tend to suffer some of the most severe injuries.

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Lake County school bus accident attorneysThis seems to be a simple question to which the answer intuitively seems to be yes, kids riding in school buses should be required to wear seat belts. This is because we know lives are saved in cars when victims of an accident have their seat belts on. So, it would seem logical that bus riders wearing seat belts will save lives as well.

However, this might not actually be the case. When school bus drivers were surveyed, most of the drivers--those who have direct, hands-on experience with bus safety--strongly oppose the idea of requiring seat belts in school buses.

Why Bus Drivers Are Opposed to Seat Belts in School Buses

The school bus drivers who were surveyed raised several concerns regarding why requiring seat belts in school buses might not be a good idea. Some of these concerns include the following:

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Cook County school bus accident lawyerOn Wednesday, December 5th, 2018, a school bus was struck by a commercial truck that was heading the wrong direction on I-74, south of Bloomington. The bus was carrying the Normal Community West High School girls’ basketball team. A 72-year-old volunteer was fatally injured in the accident, but fortunately, none of the student athletes suffered severe injuries in the collision. The accident reminded parents throughout the state of Illinois of the real possibility of their child’s school bus colliding with another vehicle. Every parent worries about the safety of their children, and if tragedy strikes, and your child is involved in a school bus accident, you should contact a legal team that will support you and your family in your time of need. 

School Bus Fatality Statistics

When our children ride a school vehicle, we put our trust in the school and the bus driver to take care of our children. Sadly, school bus accidents are more common than most of us would like to believe. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analyzed school vehicle fatalities from 2004 to 2013. In that time period, more than 1,200 Americans were fatally injured in these types of accidents. Every year, approximately 134 people die in these tragic accidents throughout the United States. 

School Bus Injuries and Causes

Due to the fact that students riding in school buses are not mandated to wear seatbelts, they can suffer incredibly serious injuries in a collision. Common school bus injuries include severe spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and broken bones. If your child is involved in a school bus accident, it is possible that the accident was caused by the negligence of the driver or the school district. School bus collisions can occur if a driver chooses to drive recklessly, such as by traveling at excessive speeds or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Accidents can also be caused by improper vehicle maintenance. 

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