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Officials Reminding Texas Drivers of School Bus Safety Laws Following Fatal Tragedy

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Over 1.5 million children are transported by school buses in Texas, making them a common sight in most cities across the state. Though numerous school buses travel our roads, many drivers lack an understanding of the regulations designed to keep young students safe, including laws that apply to them as motorists. This leads not only to a number of citations issued by Texas law enforcement agencies but also, in the most tragic of cases, preventable accidents.

One such accident which recently occurred in Indiana is prompting state officials to remind Texas drivers about critical school bus safety laws. That tragedy occurred when a 24-year-old woman struck and killed three children, including 2 6-year-old twins and their 9-year-old sister. The driver has attempted to pass the school bus while it was stopped and has since been charged in criminal court for her failure to stop.

While the crash is such a profound tragedy for all involved, it is highlighting the substantial risks students face whenever they are around school buses, as well as, the need to ensure all motorists know and understand the law when near school buses.

In Texas, school bus safety laws that apply to motorists include:

  • Drivers are required to stop when a school bus is stopped and displays a visual sign, typically a stop sign on a swinging arm attached to the bus, or flashing red lights.
  • Drivers are not allowed to proceed until the stop sign is retracted, the bus moves, or they are directed personally by the bus driver.
  • On undivided roads, traffic in BOTH directions must stop for stopped school buses.
  • A violation of the law can subject motorists to fines that may exceed $1,200.

In conjunction with reminders to the public, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently participated in National School Bus Safety Week. During the fourth week of October, troopers increased their focus on enforcing school bus safety laws by following school buses and citing drivers who failed to stop. They also focused on other violations and negligent acts which increase risks of accidents involving children and others nearby, including:

  • Distracted driving and texting while driving
  • Reduced speeds in school zones
  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding, unsafe lane changes, and other moving violations
  • Failures to yield at intersections and crosswalks

Drivers have a legal obligation to safely operate their vehicles and to comply with various traffic and safety laws designed to keep others safe. Because children are most vulnerable to accidents, as well as serious if not fatal injuries, when entering and exiting buses, we remind all motorists to exercise appropriate caution and obey the law whenever they are near school buses, school zones, or children.

Negligence, Accidents & Liability

While motorists have a legal duty to drive safely and obey the law, the unfortunate reality is that many do not. When driver’s breach their duty of care and cause preventable accidents as a result, any victims they harm have a right to seek justice and a financial recovery of their resulting damages – which can include any medical bills they incurred, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional injuries, and more.

Examples of auto accident cases involving negligence handled by our firm include:

  • School bus accidents caused by motorists who failed to stop, by negligent bus drivers, and/or by the negligence of public or private school bus operators which may have failed to ensure the qualifications or safety of employees (i.e. background checks, drug and alcohol testing, etc.)
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents, including preventable wrecks in school zones, crosswalks and intersections, and parking lots
  • Slip and fall accidents, including incidents involving premises liability and unsafe conditions
  • Auto accidents caused by distracted driving, drunk driving, and other negligent acts
  • Defective products or auto parts

At The Daspit Law Firm, our award-winning legal team is passionate about helping victims and their loved ones protect their right to justice following wrecks and injuries that could and should have been avoided. By drawing from decades of combined experience, our attorneys work to obtain the evidence needed to prove fault and liability and help clients fight for the maximum compensation possible.

If you would like to more about your right to compensation in relation to a potential accident anywhere in Houston or the state of Texas, contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

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