Last month, two people died in an accident involving a head-on collision between a school bus and car on Highway 19. The driver of the mustang drove into the path of the Hopkins County school bus. He and the driver of the school bus, who was also a special education teacher, both died from the collision. School bus accidents are not common, but any at all is a problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 340,039 fatal vehicle accidents between 2004 and 2013, about 0.4 percent or 1,214 accidents were related to school transportation. During these accidents, 1,344 individuals were killed, some of which were students.
Texas School Bus Traffic Laws
When you and other drivers share the road with school buses, it is important you all understand the rules of the road related to these distinctive bright yellow vehicles. The following includes some laws to keep in mind:
- Stop when the bus is flashing its red lights. Buses are equipped with red stop signs with red flashing lights. If the stop sign is out or the red lights are flashing, you need to stop. If you are moving in the same direction as the bus, or moving the opposite direction on a road without any middle barrier, you must stop. You can continue driving if the bus is stopped on the opposite side of a road with a physical barrier between the directions.
- Never pass a stopped bus. Children may be getting on or off the bus and crossing the road. Passing a stopped bus increases the risk of hitting a child.
- Slow down and follow the posted speed limit when children are present. Many neighborhoods will have a slower speed limit posted for times when children are likely to be in the area. Be sure to keep a close watch for children and follow the speed limit, otherwise, you could be ticketed.
- Do not use a cell phone in a school crossing zone. It is illegal to use a cell phone in any elementary, middle, or junior high school designated crossing zone. When you are in school crossing zone you should only use a hands-free device. You may use your cell phone if you have come to a complete stop.
Your Rights after a School Transportation-Related Accident
While you and other vehicles must obey specific laws around school buses, school bus drivers also have a responsibility to obey all rules of the road. If they speed or drive recklessly and cause an accident that harmed you, the driver and his or her employer may be responsible for your injuries.
If you were in an accident caused by a school bus or another school transportation vehicle, call a skilled New Braunfels personal injury lawyer at The Bettersworth Law Firm as soon as possible. We can help you with your insurance claims and any insurance issues that may arise. If necessary, we can represent you in a personal injury claim in court and help you recover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.