Now that students are back in school, Ontario drivers need to be aware of school buses to avoid accidents, specifically student/pedestrian accidents. There are two common causes of school bus student/pedestrian accidents, which are discussed below.
One cause of Ontario school bus accidents is speeding. For example, consider a situation in which a school bus is dropping off a student and is stopped on a road with its red lights flashing. After getting off the bus, the student needs to cross the street to get to the other side. A car coming from the opposite direction of the bus is speeding. When the driver sees the stopped bus, he tries to stop. However, he is driving too fast and cannot come to a complete stop as he approaches the bus. As a result, he hits the student attempting to cross the road. The force of the impact throws the student up in the air, and the student sustains catastrophic injuries.
Another common cause of Ontario school bus accidents is distracted driving. Consider the following situation. A car driver is driving behind a school bus in Kingston. The car driver is texting while driving. The bus begins to slow down in order to stop and pick up a student. The bus stops completely with its flashing lights on, and the student needs to cross the street to get on the bus. Because the car driver behind the bus is texting and does not realize that the bus is stopping to pick up a student, he tries to pass the bus and hits the student attempting to cross the street. As a result, the student suffers serious injuries.
Though some car accidents can be minor, such as fender benders, pedestrian-car accidents are often serious. This is due to the fact that pedestrians have no protection. Their bodies come in direct contact with the cars and the road. If cars are traveling at a high speed, pedestrians almost always sustain catastrophic injuries such as:
- brain injury,
- multiple broken bones throughout the body, and/or
- internal bleeding.
Drivers are required to stop if they are driving behind or approaching a school bus with its lights flashing. Drivers who do not stop face penalties as high as $2,000 and six demerit points. See Ontario Pedestrian Accidents – Stopping for School Buses
In addition, if the drivers hit children/students, they may face a tort claim. Victims of car-pedestrian accidents may file tort claims against the at-fault drivers to recover for their damages and injuries.
Let’s make the roads safer for children who ride buses in Ontario. Stop when you see a school bus with flashing lights.