Back to School: School Bus Safety Laws in Mississippi
As kids head back to school, many parents worry as they watch their children ride away in a big yellow school bus. It can be unnerving to send a young child off with no seat belts, on a crowded bus driven by a stranger. However, the National Safety Council assures us that riding the bus to school is safer than walking or being driven by a parent.
Major injuries or fatalities resulting from a school bus accident are a rare but devastating occurrence. On average, 135 people (adults and children) in the U.S. are killed in school transportation-related accidents every year, and thousands more are injured. A hit and run accident in Pennsylvania in May sent 14 children to the hospital, including a 7-year-old who was critically injured. Last November, a Chattanooga bus driver was using his cell phone and going more than 20 miles over the posted speed limit when he crashed into a tree, killing six children. Accidents like these have inspired safety engineers and lawmakers to make the rides to and from school as safe as possible.
Mississippi School Bus Safety Regulations
All buses used for student transportation by school districts in the State of Mississippi must follow the Minimum Standards for School Buses issued by the Mississippi Department of Education. School bus drivers must pass a background check, have a clean driving record, and go through extensive safety training.
Senate Bill 2472, better known as “Nathan’s Law,” clarifies and strengthens previous requirements for drivers to stop for school buses. Enacted in 2011, Nathan’s Law increases the fines for passing a stopped school bus, and if someone is injured or killed, the driver will be charged with a felony.
Staying Safe on the School Bus
More minor pedestrians are injured within an hour before or after school than any other time. Talk to your children about practicing safety precautions while waiting at the bus stop, during the ride to and from school, and while exiting the school bus.
- Teach your child to stay out of the way of traffic while waiting for the bus. Make sure the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching.
- Once on the bus, your child should remain seated and use the safety belts, if available. Encourage your child to avoid shouting or making other loud noises that could distract the bus driver.
- Practice safely crossing the street, teaching your child to be mindful of traffic. Even though motorists are required to stop when a school bus is loading or unloading, this does not always happen.
- Always cross the street in front of the school bus. Avoid the back wheels of the bus at all times.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If your child or member of your family was involved in a school bus-related accident, speak with a personal injury attorney right away. Serving Jackson and surrounding areas in Rankin, Madison, and Hinds counties, the experienced attorneys at Derek L. Hall, PC, The Heavy Hitter can provide legal guidance and assistance during this difficult time. Contact our Jackson, MS law firm today to schedule a free consultation.