Articles Posted in School Bus Accidents

School buses will be back on the roads of Southwest Florida next week as the 2019-2020 school year officially begins Monday Aug. 12.

Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral urge all motorists to use caution as the school year begins. Taking an extra couple of minutes can literally avoid a tragedy. More than 70 percent of eligible students ride the bus in Lee County, which operates more than 700 buses traveling more than 12 million miles each school year. schoolbus3-300x225

For parents, the Lee County School District offers a searchable database of school-bus routes. Motorists should just count on seeing school buses during their morning and afternoon commute.

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A school bus accident in Naples recently resulted in injuries to two students, and the driver of the bus has been found at-fault. school bus

WINK News reports the crash happened one Monday morning as students were being transported to Lely High School. The Florida Highway Patrol initiated an investigation after the students were transported to a local hospital. Authorities have characterized student injuries as minor, but it’s worth noting not all injuries are apparent immediately after a collision.

The 61-year-old driver of the bus was cited for failure to yield the right-of-way at U.S. 41 and Broward Street. The bus was turning left and did so directly into the path of a 20-year-old motorist operating a Jeep Cherokee. That driver was seriously injured and was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital. Although both drivers had a green light, the bus driver was at-fault for making a left turn into oncoming traffic. Continue reading ›

Although school buses are designed to be safe vehicles, children at school bus stops – particularly those on busier streets, absent sidewalks and in the early morning hours – may be vulnerable to accidents involving other vehicles. When these incidents occur, it’s important for parents to discuss with an experienced injury lawyer the possibility the school district may be liable in failing to establish safe routes or safe stops. stop

Decisions about school bus routes have to balance the realities of ridership demand with:

  • Any special needs of riders;
  • Climate/ weather;
  • Population density;
  • Exposure to crime/ assault;
  • Traffic density.

School officials have to take into account a myriad of different factors in order to maximize student safety. This does not mean that every injury that occurs at or near a school bus stop or on a student’s route will be grounds for a lawsuit against the school district. But in some cases, the school district may be liable. That is what’s being alleged in the south Florida case of Davis v. Baez, recently before the Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals.  Continue reading ›

As we embark on another school year, transportation safety is at the forefront of parents’ minds as they send their kids off to school each day. The good news is, school buses are one of the safest modes of travel for young people. However, that does not mean there is no risk of an accident. The 2014 school bus accident in Nassau County is proof. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Today, the man driving the logging truck that slammed into that packed school bus is now serving a 20-year prison sentence. Although he pleaded no contest to the charges of reckless driving and serious bodily injury, he blamed his former employer, Mo’s Trucking, for failure to properly maintain the truck. The tractor-trailer rig rammed into the school bus as it stopped to drop off students on a rainy afternoon. Seven of the students were seriously hurt, though authorities say it could have been much worse if the 37-year-old bus driver hadn’t suddenly stepped on the gas as she realized what was about to happen as the truck barreled toward the rear of the bus.

Although thankfully all survived, the crash was described by those who saw it, “horrific.” The truck driver was reportedly operating erratically just prior to the crash. His wife, who was seated next to him, was naked. Neither were wearing seat belts and both were seriously injured. The driver’s wife would later say she was hot in the cabin, so she took off her clothing. Continue reading ›

Little more than a year ago, the driver of a van full of churchgoers ran a stop sign and crashed in a shallow body of water off a Florida highway in Glades County, killing eight of the 18 passengers inside.van5

Now, authorities say the driver may have been impaired by over-the-counter antihistamines. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) weren’t able to uncover much information about the amount of sleep the driver had prior to the van crash in March 2015, so determining whether that was a factor was difficult. However, drug and alcohol testing on the driver did not reveal the presence of any other potentially impairing substances.

We do know that the passenger van lacked seat belts (only the driver and front seat passenger were belted in), the vehicle was overloaded and it was late at night. The passengers were members of the Fort Pierce Independent Haitian Assembly of God and were on their back from a Palm Sunday celebration at a sister church in Lee County, the Eglise de Dieu La Jerusalem Celeste.  Continue reading ›

A woman injured when her work van was struck by a school bus will get a second trial, following an appeal regarding improperly-admitted evidence. reports

Plaintiff in Reese v. Stanton argued trial court improperly allowed reports and conclusions from workers’ compensation doctors to be admitted into evidence in her personal injury lawsuit – even though those individuals were not called to testify in court. The Montana Supreme Court agreed, finding this action amounted to admission of hearsay.

The idea here is that the witnesses putting forth this information can’t be challenged. It’s the same reason police accident reports typically aren’t entered as evidence unless the officer is also called to testify. Continue reading ›

In the case of Beauchamp v. St. Lucie County School District, there was no question the school bus driver was liable for a crash that caused the death of a 9-year-old student and serious injury to several others. In fact, the driver conceded as much in earlier depositions. schoolbus

That meant the defense strategy was to limit liability by shifting blame  – namely on the semi-truck driver and seat belt manufacturer – in order to reduce the damage award. In the end, jurors awarded $10 million in damages, and assigned 87 percent of the blame to the driver of the bus, and 13 percent to the seat belt manufacturer and the semi-truck driver.

The latter two entities settled claims with the family for an undisclosed sum prior to trial, so they aren’t subject to paying that 13 percent. However, neither will the school district automatically have to pay $8.7 million. There is a $200,000 damage cap on civil awards against a state government entity – which includes a school district. Plaintiffs plan to file a claim with the state legislature, which is the only way a higher damage award against the government may be approved. Continue reading ›

It’s that time of year again: Those big yellow school buses are once again a part of our morning commute.

Our Fort Myers injury attorneys urge parents to talk with their children about the risks, and motorists to practice the patience critical to avoiding a bus or pedestrian accident. 793842_school_bus.jpg

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly three-quarters of school bus accident victims are pedestrians who are hit by the bus or other vehicle being used for student transportation. More than half of all victims are between the ages of 5 and 7.

In Lee County, 48,000 students a day get to and from school on some 700 local school buses. Early local start times are another local risk factor as Lee County has some of the earliest start times in the state. According to a recent article in The News-Press, some parents have also voiced concerns about the safety of some local bus stops.

The truth of the matter is that pedestrian accidents are a real threat as students walk to and from their bus stop. Motorists are encouraged to use extra caution when traveling through residential neighborhoods in the early-morning or mid-afternoon. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports nearly half of all school-transportation accidents happen between 7-8 a.m. or 3-4 p.m.

NBC-2 reports local officials will recognize National School Bus Safety Week next month. In the meantime, drivers and student alike must do their part to help ensure the safety of our school buses and bus stops.

Driver Safety:

-Slow down near schools or in residential areas. Be mindful of speed limits in school zones.

-Stop for school buses loading or unloading children. By law, a motorist must stop for a school bus displaying red flashing lights.

-Leave for your destination with plenty of time to avoid rushing.

-Drive with your headlights on — even during the day. It makes it easier for drivers and children to see you.

Child School Bus Safety

-Remain seated while bus is in motion.

-Keep head and arms inside at all times.

-Avoid horseplay.

-Cross streets at a crosswalk.

-Choose a safe route to and from bus stop.

-Look left, right and then left before crossing the street.

-Make eye contact with bus driver before crossing street. Get permission of bus driver before boarding.

-Never attempt to retrieve something that has fallen beneath the bus.
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The Lee County School District has a plan and its transportation department plans to get your children to and from school on time this year.

Parents are still concerned about the yellow buses getting their children to school safely.

Every year, more than 25 million students across the country use school buses to get to school and back each day. Unfortunately, many people are injured in the process. According to the National Safety Council, there were 134 deaths resulting from school bus-related traffic accidents in 2005 alone. Another 11,000 were injured in these incidents.
Lee County school buses transport about 48,000 students every year. That’s more than half of the county’s 85,000 student population. Lee transportation operates nearly 700 school buses every school year. A lot of parents still worry about sending their children out to the bus stops with the congested traffic of the morning rush hour. Talking with your child about safe bus-riding habits can help to reduce their risks of child injury in Fort Myers, Naples and Cape Coral.

Our Naples personal injury attorneys would first like to wish all of our students a happy school year. Getting to and from school can be the most dangerous part of your child’s day. Luckily, Joseph Burke, Lee County’s new superintendent, says that he and the district aren’t done with their safe bus stop efforts. While the county continues to search for shorter bus route for students, the school board is still keeping safety as a top priority.

Of Florida’s 67 school districts, Charlotte and Lee counties have some of the earliest school start times. Parents oftentimes worry about their children heading to the bus stop before the sun even comes up.

Of all the school bus-related accident injuries from 2000 to 2005, nearly 50 percent of them were sustained by the passengers of a school bus, nearly 10 percent were by the school bus drivers and more than 40 percent were sustained by occupants of other motor vehicles. During the same time period, more than 80 percent of school bus-accident fatalities happened when a pedestrian was hit by a bus.

The National Safety Council offers these safety tips for students riding the school bus this year:

-Don’t play around while waiting at your bus stop. Carelessness can lead to accidents.

-Line up as the bus pulls up to your stop.

-Don’t step onto the road until the bus has come to a complete stop and has opened its doors.

-When you’re getting on the bus, use the handrail.

-Once you’re on the bus sit down and talk with an inside voice.

-Keep your hands, arms and head inside the bus.

-Keep books, bags and other items out of the bus’ aisle.

-Don’t stand up to exit the bus at your stop until the bus has come to a complete stop.

-Always stay at least 10 feet away from the bus.

-Make sure the driver sees you and signals before crossing the road if you need to.

-Look in all directions for oncoming traffic before you cross the street.
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Who said Monday’s are quiet? A typical Monday’s worth of news in Southwest Florida shows just how dangerous our roads can be at the height of tourism season. Our Fort Myers personal injury lawyers urge you to take driving safety seriously.

And please speak with your teenagers and aging loved ones. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among teens. The only drivers at higher risk are those over the age of 75. Staying safe behind the wheel can be as simple as not driving under the influence, not speeding, and not driving distracted. Statistics show as many as two-thirds of all fatal crashes involve one of those three activities.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports 2,563 motorists were killed in Florida car accidents last year — that’s more than seven people a day. Florida is one of the leading states in virtually every major fatal accident category, including bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidents, motorcycle accidents and trucking accidents.

A typical Monday’s news:

Women Struck by Deputy’s Car: A Naples bicycle accident occurred when a Collier County sheriff’s cruiser collided with a bicyclist walking across the street (Warning: this links to graphic video).

Bicyclist Struck by Truck in North Fort Myers: A 57-year-old man is in critical condition after being struck by a pickup on Pine Island Road. The North Fort Myers bicycle accident occurred near Orchid Road.

Crash Causing Delays on Sanibel Causeway: Delays were reported approaching the island as a result of the Sanibel car accident.

Fort Myers Police Search for Suspects in Hit-and-Run: The Fort Myers car accident occurred when a Buick struck two vehicles at State Road 82 and Forum Boulevard.

Relative of Crash Victim wants Traffic Light at Cape Coral Intersection: The intersection of Pine Island Road and Skyline Boulevard is among the county’s most-dangerous. There have been 131 accidents and seven deaths in the last five years.

Fort Myers man, 72, Suffers Minor Injuries in School Bus Crash: The Fort Myers school bus accident occurred when the man’s truck was rear-ended by a bus carrying 11 elementary students.
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