After a long, rainy summer, hundreds of thousands of students are back in elementary, middle, and high schools across the Commonwealth, and they all have one thing in common – commuting to and from school by vehicle, bus, bicycle, or on foot.
How Many Children In Massachusetts Rely on Bus Transport?
According to Mass.gov, every year nearly 400,000 Massachusetts students get to and from school through the use of buses. While considered to be a generally safe way to transport children for their school day, school bus-related injuries do happen. These accidents usually involve children getting on or off the bus when they are hit by passing traffic or bus drivers unable to see them in blind spots.
What Are Some Safety Recommendations for Drivers Sharing the Road with School Buses?
The National Safety Council, a nonprofit focused on “eliminating the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths,” advises drivers on how to safely share the road with school buses, with the following recommendations for drivers:
- Never pass a bus if it is stopped for passengers;
- Stop for a bus with yellow or red lights flashing;
- Stop far enough away from a bus to allow children room to safely enter, exit and cross the road; and
- Remain alert and vigilant for unpredictable behavior such as children running or darting into the road.
What Are Other Safety Considerations For Drivers and Bike Riders in Massachusetts?
Experts also remind drivers that with school buses and parents on the road, work commuters should plan extra time on the road so there is no need to rush.
In addition to possibly causing an accident, passing a school bus stopped with its lights flashing could cost drivers a fine of $200 for a first offense or suspension of their drivers’ licenses for multiple offenses. A legislative bill recently introduced by state Senator Michael O. Moore would give towns and cities the right to install cameras on buses to help enforce traffic violations by taking photos of vehicles violating the law. The cameras would send the images to local police departments which would then issue fines by mail, which could then be contested within a certain number of days. The installation of these cameras in each town or city would be discretionary to that municipality.
More Safety Tips for Bike Riding
Bicyclists should also prepare for a safe return to school and work, remembering that the narrow roads of Boston and other municipalities will be more congested. According to MassBike.org, children and teens who ride a bicycle to school should take a number of safety steps, including inspecting the bike for proper tire inflation and brake function, wearing sturdy, fitted helmets and visible clothing, and using bike lights as needed and where required by law. Children, whether riding with parents or without, should be taught to be vigilant and safe in riding, and to obey the rules of the road.
Even with safety precautions, however, accidents still happen. SUGARMAN’s attorneys have decades of experience handling motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian accident and injury claims. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident , and you wish to speak to one of our attorneys, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at (617) 542-1000, or email us at email@example.com.