What legal recourse is available to a parent whose child was hit by a school bus in Houston?
You send your child to school each and every day never with the expectation that something bad is going to happen to them. But what is a parent to do when that day comes where their child crosses paths with a vehicle and a negligent driver behind the wheel of it after getting off the bus? Although many might think it is uncommon, there are many children who suffer injuries and even die when crossing the road after getting on or off their school bus.
Despite the roadway rules, the design of the school bus itself, and the precautions bus drivers take, there are some drivers who ignore the laws they are required to abide by which results in them hitting children who are either crossing the street or taking their first steps away from their school bus. In fact, one mom watched her child nearly get hit by a car in Houston after the child’s school bus stopped across the street from her apartment complex on August 28, 2019. The mother of three waited outside of her apartment with two of her children and recorded a video of her daughter exiting her school bus.
It was the child’s second day of kindergarten which as we all know, is a very important time for any parent. After the school bus had stopped, the driver extended the stop sign arms and allowed the children to exit the bus. Although motorists are aware they are required by law to stop once a bus extends its stop sign arms, one driver failed to do so. The mother, who watched as her daughter prepared to take a step into the street, began screaming and telling her daughter to stop walking to prevent from being hit [Source: ABC 13].
Thankfully, the child listened to her mother’s directions and stopped. But, if she hadn’t or if her mother was not outside to monitor her, things could have ended much differently. The mother, who shared the video she captured with the public, now can only hope that her experience will be used as a reminder to others to stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students who may need to cross the street.
If your child was hit by a driver in Houston, Texas while crossing the road, you may have many legal questions that need to be answered such as:
- Can I sue the driver or the school board?
- Who will pay for the medical care my child needs rendered?
- Can I press charges against the driver?
- Is my child entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering he or she has had to endure?
If these are some of the questions you currently have, contact Blizzard Law, PLLC to speak with one of our compassionate Houston, Texas, personal injury attorneys.
Why do drivers ignore school bus laws?
There are a few reasons why Houston drivers fail to follow school bus laws that are meant to keep our students safe. Some include:
- Drivers allow themselves to become distracted. Drivers who engage in behavior that is distracting to them are less likely to notice when a school bus has extended its stop sign arms to allow children to enter and exit the school bus. Cellphones have become a top distraction that prevents a person to drive safely and they contribute to thousands of vehicular accidents each year.
- Motorists are either careless or choose not to abide by them. While there are some drivers who simply aren’t paying attention to their surroundings and fail to see when a school bus has stopped, there are other drivers who are impatient or don’t care to wait for a school bus to load or unload children.
School Bus Safety Tips
As much effort as lawmakers put into informing drivers of school bus safety laws, there are still going to be motorists who fail to stop for a school bus. Therefore, if your child is one who rides the bus, it is important that you discuss with him ways to stay safe and prevent from being hit by a careless or distracted driver. Some things you might consider doing and sharing with your child include:
- Walk with your child to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. If you are unable to stay with them, remind them to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb [Source: org].
- If your child is required to cross the street, whether they are getting on or off their school bus, remind them to “take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver, and cross when the driver indicates it is safe” to do so.
- Be sure your child looks left, right, and then left again before attempting to cross the street.
- Consider practicing crossing the street with smaller children so they get in the habit of scanning their surroundings to be sure it is safe to cross.
As we mentioned before, if your child was injured or killed by a negligent driver while crossing the street to enter or exit their school bus, we do encourage you to contact our office to speak with a qualified and compassionate personal injury lawyer in Houston, Texas. Our attorneys are here to help you understand what your rights are as a parent and the legal steps you can take to hold the motorist accountable for their actions.
You can reach Blizzard Law, PLLC at:
5020 Montrose Blvd., Ste 410
Houston, TX 77006