Padilla Law Group, LLP

When a California school bus ride turns disastrous for your child

As with many California families, your children may ride school buses to and from their school every day. If your kids are athletes, they likely use bus transportation to get to many sporting events scheduled at other schools. School bus travel is, in fact, so common in the United States that you may not even give it a second thought when one of your kids takes his or her seat on one of these massive vehicles.  

Some say school officials should conduct training for students before they use this type of transportation. In recent years, there have been several serious motor vehicle collisions involving school buses. By teaching children ahead of time what to do if their bus is involved in a crash, it may help reduce the number of injuries that occur in a particular incident. If you learn that driver negligence was a causal factor to your child's injuries, there are immediate steps you can take on his or her behalf. 

Survival skills for kids on buses 

During an average daily commute to and from school, there may not be any adults other than the driver on your child's school bus. By discussing school bus safety with your child ahead of time, he or she may stay safer and may even be able to help another child get to safety. The following list includes practical tips for anyone who rides a school bus: 

  • Stay seated: It's the most basic safety instruction concerning school bus travel. However, because school buses don't typically have seat restraints installed, many kids think it's safe to stand or walk around on the bus while it's moving. By teaching your child to stay seated at all times, you may lower his or her risk for injury. 
  • Don't panic: If a crash occurs, it's human instinct to want to flee to safer grounds. If your child tries to exit the bus before rescue workers or local law enforcement agents have told crash victims it's okay to do so, he or she may risk further injury. 
  • Emergency exit safety: There are emergency exits on all school buses; however, if your child's bus tips over in a collision, such exits may not be immediately accessible or, if they are, may not be safe to exit right away. For instance, a rear emergency door may be up high if a bus is on its side. Your child could fall from significant height if he or she climbs out too soon. 
  • Try to help if able: If your child is old enough and is able to do so, he or she may be able to help calm a friend or may even lend a hand in the rescue mission by helping someone in worse condition get the aid he or she needs.  

Many crashed vehicles, especially school buses, are at risk for explosion or fire. In such situations, your child may have to set all else aside and simply try to get as far away from the bus as possible, as quickly as possible. School buses often carry children who have not yet learned to swim. If the bus lands in water, this may create a chaotic scene. Children involved in school bus crashes often suffer serious emotional trauma.  

What you can do as a parent  

Parents in California and all other states are able to seek justice on the behalves of their minor children. You may feel angry and frustrated upon learning that your child's bus driver failed to adhere to traffic regulations or otherwise acted negligently behind the wheel. You can discuss the situation with others whose children suffered injury, as well as with someone who can provide experienced guidance regarding possible litigation. 

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