Everyone can get distracted while driving, and commercial bus drivers are no exception. Distractions that safety experts most commonly talk about include texting or using a phone while driving, adjusting the radio, looking for something that has fallen off the seat, arguing with another passenger and looking at scenery. However, distractions are not limited to that list. Drivers in New York and elsewhere can be dangerously distracted by anything that takes their attention off the task of driving.
School bus drivers in New York have a pressing responsibility to protect the children they are in charge of getting to and from school each day. While each is required to undergo a background check and considerable training to guarantee that they understand their responsibilities, other motorists must also be paying attention to make sure that the children aboard the bus stay safe.
Earlier this month, there were six school bus accidents over the course of three days in various states around the nation.
Most might view driver fatigue to be a problem that only traditional motorists in New York face, not those that drive for a living. After all, being behind the wheel is a commercial driver's livelihood; why would he or she risk that by not being at his or her best (both mentally and physically) at all times? Yet one might argue that such drivers are at an even greater risk to push themselves beyond their normal limits while behind the wheel in order to maximize the number of hours they can work. This may be the reason why commercial vehicle accidents (including bus accidents) continue to be a problem. Indeed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that 4,440 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents in 2015 alone.
As the incident of the Chattanooga school bus crash still lingers in the minds of concerned parents, New York's school bus laws have come under close scrutiny. While most buses are inherently safer than, for instance, smaller vehicles, many residents worry over the regulations of specific school zones. Below are a few facts to know about New York's school bus laws.
As the 2016 Chattanooga school bus crash still weighs heavily on the minds of American parents, many have asked whether school buses themselves should take stronger safety measures to protect their passengers. New York, along with other states, enforces special laws on its school buses. Nevertheless, many parents are concerned for the safety of their children.
For those living in big cities such as New York, buses are an everyday part of life. City dwellers rely on these modes of transportation for various personal and business reasons, as oftentimes buses are ideal in highly congested areas where traffic creates delays. Unfortunately, these buses sometimes do not operate as planned. One bus accident in Queens last month raised one focal issue: are all bus drivers trained and equipped to take thousands of lives into their own hands each day?
Bus accidents, like any vehicle crash, are an inevitable part of driving in New York. Sometimes, simple mistakes can lead to catastrophic incidents, which can then result in injuries and even death. But what if those mistakes were due to inattention of the driver? A large number of bus accidents are due to sleep deprivation and other sleep disorders among drivers. While laws regarding sleep apnea testing for drivers are changing, there remains a popular voice in favor of preparing public transportation drivers for the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with long shifts.
For decades, school buses have served as reliable modes of transportation for children going to and from school, sports and extracurricular events or daycare. In recent years, however, the high numbers of bus accidents have caused national concern. And just as drivers of regular motor vehicles can become distracted by a number of factors, school bus drivers have also come into the spotlight in regards to the accuracy and safety of their driving. New York's laws on driving safety help protect children from potential accidents, but the laws are continuously changing to best address the issue of distracted bus driving.
Every day that you send your child off to school, you are entrusting his or her care to someone whom you may not know operating a vehicle that, by all outward appearances, requires special skills to drive. This lack of knowledge and control over your child’s well-being may seem unsettling. Knowing exactly what the safety and liability standards are for school buses may help to put your mind at ease (or even empower you to push for added safety protocols).