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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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school bus accidents, Waukegan personal injury attorney, school-transportation crashes, public transit accidentsIn the span of one week, two Englewood bus accidents have reminded Chicagoans of the reality of public transit accidents. On Saturday, March 3, a negligent driver collided with a CTA bus early in the morning, and suffered fatal injuries. Less than one week later, six CTA bus passengers suffered injuries in another Englewood collision, as a white SUV collided with the Englewood bus on Wednesday, March 7. The collision directed the passenger bus into a tree before ultimately forcing the bus off the road and then colliding with a CTA bus stop shelter.

While the two instances were unrelated, the accidents serve as a reminder that bus collisions occur more regularly than many of us would assume. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, upwards of a 1,000 motor coach accidents occurred between the five year span between 2005 and 2010. In those accidents, over 500 passengers suffered injuries that required hospitalization, and just under 10 percent proved fatal.

If you or a loved one are injured in a passenger bus accident, you may have a number of legal avenues to pursue. Please contact our experienced Waukegan personal injury team today.

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Illinois injury attorney, Illinois school bus accident lawyer, Illinois personal injury lawyer,Although school bus crashes are fairly infrequent, their catastrophic capabilities make them greatly concerning. Not only are they able to cause harm to several victims all at once, victims are also at an increased risk for serious injury. As such, parents should know how to protect their children, and their family’s financial future, should a school bus crash ever happen to their child.

How Big Is the Risk?

Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that bus crash incidents and fatalities have been steadily decreasing over the last several years. However, there are still some 234 incidents that result in fatality each year. There are also many others that result in non-fatal injuries to passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists. Further, each incident has the potential to harm dozens of people. An example is a crash which took place this past winter in Chattanooga, which killed six children and injured several others. The bus driver is currently being held on charges of vehicular homicide and was allegedly responsible for the crash.

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