On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, police and firefighters responded to a school bus accident on the eastbound side of the Belt Parkway in Queens. The accident occurred at around 7:30 a.m. The bus was occupied at the time of the accident but, thankfully, there are no reported injuries.
Video footage shared by NBC New York captured the scene of the accident soon after it occurred. The school bus and emergency vehicles were pulled to the side of the road near 150th Street in Queens. The video shows children being guided off of the bus toward ambulances. The children were able to walk on their own.
Details of the accident have yet to be revealed. The right lane of the Belt Parkway remained blocked as first responders further investigated the incident. We hope the children are in good health and were able to continue their day despite the scary events of that morning.
School buses should be some of the safest vehicles on the road, and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they are. Students are reportedly 70 times more likely to get to school safely if they are riding in a school bus instead of a car. Every day, parents trust bus drivers to safely transport their children to and from school. A school bus accident can be a traumatic experience for young children, so it is important that they have a safe and reliable form of transportation on their daily commutes. Therefore, school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road; they are designed to prevent crashes, be highly visible, and have rollover protection features, among other things.
Additionally, rather than rely completely on seat belt systems for passenger safety, school buses generally rely on a system called “compartmentalization” to keep passengers safe in the case of an accident. Through compartmentalization, children are protected by closely-spaced seats that have more padding than other vehicles. The seat backs in school buses are made to be high energy-absorbing, so students are not required to wear seat belts, although in many states school buses are required to have them.
Because school buses are designed to be safer than many other vehicles, most injuries or deaths that occur in school bus accidents happen outside of the actual school bus, when children are boarding or exiting the bus. A 2018 consumer advisory from the NHTSA reported that over the last decade, two-thirds of school-age pedestrians who were fatally injured in school-related crashes were struck by school buses or other vehicles when getting on or off the bus.
Here are some tips to keep children (and the adults around them) safe on their daily commute to school:
- Stand six feet (three giant steps) away from the curb while waiting for the bus
- Never walk behind the bus
- If you have to cross in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet in front and make eye contact with the driver before crossing
- On the bus, talk quietly in order to minimize distractions to the bus driver
It is incredibly fortunate that the students involved in this accident were not hurt. However, if you or someone you know has been injured in a school bus (or other transportation-related accident), the motor vehicle accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are here for you. We can help you pursue the best course of action regarding your case and will fight to get you the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Relevant results include:
- $2,250,000 settlement for a 55-year-old bank teller who was crossing the street with the traffic signal in her favor when she was hit by a school bus
- $1,750,000 settlement for a driver who was rear-ended by a school bus while sitting at a red light
- $1,490,000 settlement for a 39-year-old man who suffered back and neck injuries after his car collided with a school bus at an intersection
- $1,350,000 settlement for a pedestrian who was hit by a school bus while crossing the street