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Concerns regarding fatal school bus accidents

Many parents in Massachusetts rely on school buses to transport their children to school every morning. Understandably, these parents may be concerned with school bus safety.

According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA that looked at school transportation-related crashes that occurred from 2001 to 2010, there were a total of 1,236 fatal bus accidents in that timeframe. This accounted for 0.34 percent of the total fatal motor vehicles occurring nationally during that time period.

While this is a relatively small percentage, it is still a concerning amount since these vehicles are heavily relied on nationwide throughout the school year. Moreover, roughly 18 school-age children die is school bus accidents each year, so it is important to address these types of collisions.

School buses are very large vehicles that could cause much damage to another vehicle, person or cyclist involved in a collision. Because of this, it is not only important to address the cause of school bus accidents, but also who is most likely to suffer fatal injuries.

According to the report, roughly 72 percent of the fatalities reported were people who were occupants in other vehicles involved in the bus crash. Approximately 7 percent of the fatalities were occupants of the school bus, and the remaining 21 percent were non-occupants, which include pedestrians, bicyclists and others.

Following a bus accident, it is important to establish cause. Thorough investigation could establish cause and help assign liability. If a bus driver or another motorists is determined to be at fault, those harmed in the incident could file a civil action. Injured victims could file a personal injury claim while loved ones of deceased victims could file a wrongful death suit. These actions may be able to help victims and their families recover compensation to cover expenses associated with the accident.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "School Transportation-Related Crashes," accessed July 6, 2015

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