Buses travel nearly 4 billion miles yearly with some of our most precious cargo aboard. Each school day in the United States, there are an estimated 450,000 school buses transporting more than 23.5 million students to and from school. Due to the involvement of young children, school bus accidents are among the most tragic of all motor vehicle accidents.
According to statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, one school bus rider is injured or killed every 45.6 hours. Over the last five years, there has been an average of 624 school bus crashes a year, resulting in an average of 180 school bus occupant injuries each year. (Final Year Crash Statistics, Wisconsin Department of Transportation).
School bus accidents can occur not only when a bus physically crashes into another moving vehicle or a stationary object, but also when a rider is getting on or off the bus. Safety measures and awareness have helped decrease accidents, but they still can and do occur.
Under Wisconsin law, school buses are considered “common carriers,” which means that they must exercise the highest degree of care for their safety. The care required of school bus drivers and companies operating school buses is the highest that can be reasonably exercised by persons of vigilance and foresight when acting under the same or similar circumstances. In addition, the law provides that this “common carrier” duty applicable to school bus drivers and companies operating school buses includes an obligation to furnish passengers with a safe place in which to get on and off of the bus.
Click here to read about the landmark decision the personal injury lawyers at Cannon & Dunphy S.C. obtained from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals involving the duty of care owed by school bus drivers and companies.