With the last few days of summer slipping away, you and your children may be preparing for the start of a new school year. Whether the kids are eager to return or complaining that summer went too quickly, there is no avoiding the day when they will climb aboard the big yellow bus.
When you were a child riding a school bus, the danger may never have occurred to you. It is a very different story when you are a parent. As happy as you may be that the kids will soon be back in school, you must also face the possibility that an accident while boarding, exiting or riding a bus may result in life-changing injuries for your child.
Catching drivers who pass school buses
Your child’s bus driver may tell you that a vehicle passing the bus when the red lights are flashing is an everyday occurrence. Passing on the right side of the bus places your child at risk from the moment he or she steps off the bus. Passing on the left jeopardizes any child who must cross the street. There is no excuse for a driver to pass a school bus when the lights are flashing and the stop arm is out.
Nevertheless, children pay the consequences for impatient or negligent drivers, and often, those drivers pass too quickly for anyone to identify them. However, you may be among the many Oklahoma parents who are relieved at the recent passage of House Bill 1926, which grants permission to school districts across the state for the use of video monitoring systems in their school buses. Schools may also apply for grants to pay for the installation of these systems, which may include the following:
- At least one camera sensor
- Computers installed on each bus
- Capabilities for live feed and recorded video of vehicles passing a stopped school bus
- Capability for producing clear images of a passing vehicle’s license plate
- High-quality picture imaging of the driver’s face
- Identifying information, such as the date, time and location of the incident as well as the status of the lights and stop arm of the bus
School districts will report this information to law enforcement, which will follow up with appropriate consequences. You may share the hope that such technology will reduce the risk of danger for your children. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. There is still a chance that a reckless driver will pass the bus your child is riding. If this results in injury to your child, you have every right to pursue justice through the civil courts.