Throughout the year this blog has reported on numerous school bus accidents. Whether it was a reckless driver who injured a school bus driver or children on the bus or an inattentive bus driver who seriously injured another motorist, school bus accidents can cause life-changing injury and even death. While Tennessee has seen a series of severe bus accidents, the recent end of National School Bus Safety Week reminds motorists and school bus drivers how to safely share the road.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the first major rule with school bus safety is to stop. This means that whenever a school bus is loading or unloading children, drivers may not drive around it, even if they are traveling in the opposite direction. The one exception to stopping for loading and unloading school buses is if a motorist is driving in the opposite direction of the bus, there are four or more lanes, and there is a divided median or turning lane that separates his or her lane from the bus's lane. Unless drivers meet that specific category, they must stop for the bus.
It is extremely important for motorists to respect school buses and follow Tennessee law with regard to stopping for buses. A reckless or inattentive driver failing to stop could easily injure a bus driver or the children on the bus. Even if a driver saw the bus, he or she may not realize that students are passing in front of and behind the bus, and could potentially cause a serious accident.
A lieutenant with the Tennessee Highway Patrol also told The Jackson Sun that Tennessee school bus drivers must maintain their safety skills throughout the year. Drivers must go to Nashville ever year to participate in four hours of training and pass a written test in order to continue driving. School buses are also checked annually to make sure there are no mechanical defects.
Because school buses can be so dangerous, it is also extremely important that bus drivers operate their vehicles safely and maintain and update their safety training. If a driver fails to follow the rules of the road, he or she could easily hurt or kill a motorist or pedestrian.
Bus-car accidents can happen a variety of ways, but the result is almost always tragic. Regardless of who is driving, choosing not to follow simple traffic laws could lead to a horrific accident.