A Hillsborough County eighth grader decided to video her bus ride, hoping to catch the bus driver cursing. Instead she captured video showing the female bus driver texting while driving and the school bus veering from its lane and onto oncoming traffic. When the driver suddenly focused back onto the road she had to grab the steering wheel to avoid an accident. The driver was suspended by the school district for violating school policy and endangering a bus full of school children. The driver is unlikely to face criminal charges; Florida's new texting while driving law, which became effective October 1, 2013, does not apply to bus drivers.
Why school bus accidents are so dangerous
A school bus driver has the same obligation to obey the rules of the road as other drivers. When school bus drivers are reckless, they put not only themselves at risk but the children placed in their care as well. Bus accidents are especially dangerous because of the number of passengers usually involved in the accident. In a school bus accident the passengers are young children who are more delicate and susceptible to be thrown within or without the vehicle. School children are also known to leave their seats, which puts them in a more dangerous position if an accident occurs. A school bus driver who is distracted while driving—as well as his or her employer—will be held responsible for an accident that occurs regardless of whether they can be cited for a traffic violation. If an accident does occur and children are injured, parents may have grounds to file an action against:
- The school district for negligent hiring of a bus driver if the driver’s driving history was not properly investigated
- A school bus driver who causes an accident for negligent operation of the school bus including driving while they are intoxicated or using a cell phone or texting
- Other motorists who drive recklessly around a school bus including failing to stop while the children are entering or exiting the bus
Having a child suffer serious injury in a school bus accident is every parent’s nightmare. If your child was injured, you want to find out the details of what happened and make sure your child receives medical attention. You also need to consult with a Florida motor vehicle accident attorney.