When a new year of classes begins, motorists are urged to be careful around school children and the vehicles that carry them. Careless car drivers aren’t the only problem, though. A review of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) vehicle collisions over the past school year shows that more than 60 percent of preventable school bus accidents can be attributed to the bus drivers themselves.
More than 400 accidents involving CMS buses occur every year. Though this number is down from the previous two years, the fact that a majority of preventable collisions are caused by the men and women who drive children around on a daily basis is reason for concern. CMS is taking multiple steps to reduce the risk to students and others who are on the road, such as:
- Disciplining drivers who are in accidents — The school district’s transportation department says that bus operators who trigger preventable accidents are subject to sanctions, including suspension without pay and potential dismissal. However, deciding what types of crashes were preventable can be difficult, and incidents are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- Training — If a CMS driver is found to be responsible for a collision, that driver is given additional training under the rules of the CMS Transportation Personnel Manual.
- Public awareness — Regardless of who is at fault, school bus accidents can be very dangerous, even deadly. So the district emphasizes how important it is for everyone on the road to remain vigilant and obey the laws that govern vehicle operation near school buses.
On a given day, more than 1,000 CMS buses operate on area roads and the majority of trips between schools, homes and athletic fields are completed safely. Unfortunately, auto accidents don’t discriminate by age or vehicle. When a collision does involve a school bus, there can be numerous injuries and determining the exact cause of the accident might be a complicated task.
At times like these, Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban represents victims of school bus accidents in litigation and insurance claims. Please call (888) 351-1038 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. We have offices in the Carolinas and Virginia.