Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of a 7-year-old boy who lost his life on Thursday afternoon after exiting a school bus. After getting off the bus at about 3:00 p.m. on State Highway 34 near FM 2728, he was hit and killed by a passing vehicle.
Investigators said the child was crossing Highway 34 with his two younger brothers to get to their house. The driver, Salvador Hernandez, 47, of Terrell, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Investigators said he ignored the school bus’ red flashing lights and its stop sign, which was displayed to alert southbound traffic to stop.
Every year, there are at least 8.8 billion trips taken by school buses loaded with our children. Statistics show that there are more than 440,000 school buses on the road, transporting over 24 million kids to school and home and other related activities. Accident statistics show that roughly 26 kids die every year in school bus accidents, or are hurt while getting off the bus or hurt as passengers.
While fatality rates are higher in automobiles, there are still ways to make school buses safer. Any behavior that causes driver distraction is dangerous. Here are some other tips for school bus passenger safety:
When you see the bus coming, line up about ten feet from the curb. Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver advises it is safe to board. The driver is the only one who can view all traffic on the road.
If you must cross the street to board the bus, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and for the driver to flash the red lights; look both ways before you cross.
Stay out of the ‘Danger Zone’–anywhere within 10 feet of the bus
When there is an accident involving a school bus and another vehicle, one of the most important things to do is to determine fault. In many instances, fault will lie with the “other” driver; some will be caused by the bus driver in some the school bus driver, and some will result from the negligence of both bus driver and opposite vehicle.
Families affected by school bus tragedies should hire a qualified personal injury lawyer immediately. Evidence is gathered by the insurance companies defending these cases immediately, so you should have someone in your corner protecting your rights, and working to ensure that other families are safer in the future.