Get on Board with School Bus Safety: What You Must Know about Your Child's Ride to School

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Parents feel confident putting their children on school buses. However, since 1995, 1,509 people nationally have died in school transportation-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA). Personal injury attorney, Jeffrey Kroll, wants parents to know they can take more protective action than they realize.

While as parents, we rely on schools to meet and exceed safety standards, we can't forget that the most important thing we can do to ensure our kids arrive safely to school is make sure they understand how to behave in and around the school bus

As students report for the first day of school, many of them will do so in the time-honored yellow school bus. Parents feel confident putting their children on the bus. Even so, since 1995, 1,509 people nationally have died in school transportation-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This past spring, 14 children were injured in Kenosha County, Wisc., when their bus collided with a semi; four young children were killed as a result of a Minnesota bus accident in February. However, according to personal injury attorney, Jeffrey Kroll, parents can take more action than they realize.

"The sad reality is that nobody can offer a 100 percent guarantee of your child's safety when they step onto that school bus," says Jeffrey J. Kroll, Chicago personal injury lawyer and principal at the Law Offices of Jeffrey J. Kroll (http://www.kroll-lawfirm.com). "But as a parent, you can identify whether your school district has taken specific steps to reduce the risk of a bus accident." Kroll notes that the areas of law related to these types of cases are referred to as transportation negligence and negligent entrustment.

Through his experience in representing victims of school bus accidents and their families, Kroll has gleaned invaluable insights about school bus safety issues such as the following:

  • Bus driver experience. Some public transit bus companies require several years of experience driving a bus or truck. However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, many people who become school bus drivers have never driven any vehicle larger than a car.
  • Bus driver training. Likewise, some school bus drivers only receive between one and four weeks of training, as opposed to the two to eight weeks of training other types of bus drivers receive.
  • Emergency drills. Schools should hold emergency bus evacuation drills twice a year, as mandated by state law (e.g. Illinois), in addition to a written evacuation plan.
  • Student supervision. State guidelines affirm that administrators should provide supervision of loading and unloading areas at or near the school. In addition, bus routes that service special needs and very young children need to have another adult on board besides the driver.

To make sure your child's school has appropriate safety measures in place, check the school Web site for information about the district's bus system, or request a written copy of school bus policies and procedures.

"While as parents, we rely on schools to meet and exceed safety standards, we can't forget that the most important thing we can do to ensure our kids arrive safely to school is make sure they understand how to behave in and around the school bus," Kroll says. Kroll points out that transportation negligence and negligent entrustment are two areas of law that more school officials need to be made aware of.

To schedule an interview with Jeffrey J. Kroll, contact:
Tom Ciesielka, (312) 422-1333 or tc@tcpr.net
Amber Dawe, (312) 422-1333 or amber@tcpr.net

About Jeffrey J. Kroll

With 17 years' experience representing victims and their families, Jeffrey Kroll has seen firsthand the pain experienced by individuals and families in personal injury and wrongful death actions. While The Law Offices of Jeffrey J. Kroll is best known for its success in fighting for victims of auto, truck and bus accidents, it has achieved record verdicts and settlements in a wide range of practice areas. Kroll is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell's highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability. For more information about Kroll's work with personal injury and wrongful death cases, visit http://www.kroll-lawfirm.com .

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Thomas Ciesielka
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