No Child Injuries in Miami School Bus, Man Hospitalized

One man was transported to a local hospital recently following a Miami school bus accident in which the bus was packed with small children. schoolbus4

NBC-6 reported the incident occurred underneath Florida’s Turnpike, on SW Coral Reef Drive near SW 152nd Street. The bus apparently flipped on its side, yet miraculously, none of the nine children aboard, ages 6 and 7, were injured. They were each wearing seat belts. It’s not clear if this was a newer bus or if the bus had been retrofitted with seat belts, as this is not a standard feature.Authorities say a pickup truck driver was at-fault for the incident, in which he turned in front of the bus, which had the right-of-way and t-boned the truck. The bus subsequently flipped over. The collision is under investigation.

Although school buses tend to be touted as safe, there have been a fair share of bus accidents in Miami over the last year.

Among those:

  • One person critically injured earlier this month in a school bus accident near Northwest 199th Street and 39th Court where the bus collided with a small passenger car. No students were on board at the time;
  • Five people hospitalized in a bus crash in April on Northwest 17th Ave. and Northwest 46th Street when a bus, carrying six people, struck an 18-year-old driver of a sport utility vehicle who allegedly made an improper left turn;
  • A bus driver died and a car occupant was injured in April when the driver, transporting a college baseball team from Virginia, lost consciousness due to a medical emergency, crashed into a car and then slammed into a tree near U.S. 1.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decided against seat belts on school buses, even though seat belts have been required in passenger vehicles since 1968. However, small school buses that weigh 10,000 pounds or less do have to be equipped with either a lap or lap/shoulder belts at all designated seating positions. The agency has stood firm in its position that compartmentalization on school school bus is effective at protecting children and the presence of seat belts on larger buses had no impact. However, schools and states are not forbidden from purchasing buses equipped with seat belts, and they don’t seem to hurt.

A May 2016 report by the NHTSA on school bus crashes revealed that between 2005 and 2014, there were 1,332 people of all ages killed in school-transportation-related crashes. That’s an average of 133 annually — and that includes people who were not on the bus, meaning pedestrians as well as people in other vehicles. The total number killed included 304 school-age children, of whom 53 were school bus occupants. Most were occupants of other vehicles or pedestrians or bicyclists.

In most school bus accidents involving school-aged pedestrians, the most common time was between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Although school buses are reported to be seven times safer than passenger vehicles or light trucks, there is still the risk of an injury. These cases can be more complicated than other types of injury lawsuits because they typically involve a school district — a governmental entity — as a defendant. That means plaintiffs have to overcome assertions of sovereign immunity and other challenges. Our Miami bus accident attorneys can help.

If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.

Additional Resources:

Kids Walk Away From Bus Crash In Miami-Dade, Sept. 15, 2016, By Gary Nelson, Miami NBC Local

More Blog Entries:

Carter v. Reese – Good Samaritan Act Can Limit Liability, Sept. 6, 2016, Miami Bus Accident Lawyer Blog