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School Bus Safety and Avoiding Accidents in Maryland

School bus safety is something that every Maryland driver needs to take seriously. There has been a rash of recent accidents involving children getting on or off school buses, including a 7-year-old girl who was in critical condition after being struck by a pickup truck after getting off her school bus.

According to ABC57 News, a study shows that most Maryland drivers are not stopping for school buses with flashing lights as the law requires of them. The Maryland State Department of Education found over 3,800 school bus stop violations in a single day. The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services conducted their own survey, which shows that nearly 84,000 vehicles illegally passed school buses during the 2017-2018 school year.

If your child was injured after being struck by a driver who failed to stop for a school bus as legally required in Maryland, it is important to speak to a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney right away.

School Bus Danger Zone

The ‘Danger Zone’ is the area around the bus where kids have the highest risk of being struck by other vehicles. Kids need to remain at least 10 feet away from the bus and never attempt to cross behind it. They should also take at least 10 steps in front of the bus before crossing in order to avoid being hit.

It is estimated that the most dangerous time for children is not when riding the bus, but while approaching or leaving it. Younger children are at a higher risk of being struck because they often hurry on or off the bus, have very little experience with traffic, assume that passing cars will see them, and do not always remain in the bus driver’s line of sight.

Drivers’ Duty of Care

If you are driving a vehicle on Maryland roads, it is important you familiarize yourself with the laws that require you to stop when a school bus has its flashing lights on. You should slow down in residential areas and watch for children who may be walking to and from school, especially in areas where there are no sidewalks.

Learn the flashing light system that school bus drivers use to alert drivers that children are getting on or off. Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is about to load or unload children. As a driver, you should be slowing down and preparing to stop. If the bus has red flashing lights and the extended “stop” arm out, that means children are in the process of boarding or exiting the bus. All drivers are required to stop until the red lights stop flashing before they proceed to drive.

Learning to be a better defensive driver and watching for stopped school buses can help reduce the number of potential accidents involving young children who are struck by an illegally passing motorist. In addition, parents who have children that take the bus every day can help reduce the risk of an accident by teaching their children how to be safe when crossing the street.

Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

If you need legal assistance with a school bus accident injury or any other type of personal injury claim, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation today.

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