A recent video posted by ABC World News shows the gross negligence and recklessness of drivers as they pass school buses unloading children. While the video is national in scope, Connecticut statistics for infractions issued for failure to stop for a school bus show that our State has a similar problem.
Connecticut General Statute 14-279 requires that any motor vehicle shall immediately stop not less than 10 feet in front of or behind a school bus displaying flashing red lights on any highway, private road, parking area or school grounds. Authorized emergency vehicles are also required to stop. It should be noted that the statute only requires the bus to display flashing red lights, and does not require use of the STOP sign commonly found on the sides of buses.
In 2011, there were 582 ticketed offenses for passing an unloading school bus. Between 2007 and 2011 there were a total of 3,107 ticketed offenses. Those are the numbers JUST for Connecticut. That’s 3,107 potentially life threatening injuries to children.
When the law was first being enacted in 1985, the Executive Director of the Connecticut School Transportation Association at that time, Robin Leeds, called the passing of unloading school buses “the most serious problem in school transportation”. She noted that back then “all our fatalities occur here” and “our most severe injuries as well”.
The fine for passing a school bus unloading children is $450 per occurrence. However, the main risk is that of injuring a child. When injury is caused to another in the process of breaking a law, that action is considered negligence per se. Therefore, drivers passing a school bus that injure a child shall be liable for the injuries to that child without having to prove negligence; negligence will be assumed by the court.
Between football injuries and bullying, many parents spend a lot of time worrying about how safe their children are at school. However, there seems to be just as much if not more risk in getting the children to and from school safely. If your child is injured in an accident while getting on or off of a school bus remember one thing: it was not an accident, it was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person. You should seek the help of experienced personal injury attorneys, especially those with experience handling child injury matters. At G&G Law, LLC our attorneys work together to combine their experiences in personal injury matters and their experience in representing the welfare and interests of children, to seek proper compensation for injured children and their parents.
The ABC World News Video can be seen HERE.