Many authorities are surprised to hear about a number of recent school bus accidents that have occurred in two major cities, New York City and Chicago. Specifically, Nbc.com made a report detailing a Long Island school bus driver who was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated after he crashed a bus filled with seventh-graders during a field trip. Police say he was the city’s third school bus driver to be arrested on DWI charges last month.
The report states that the 47-year old driver was driving a bus of 29 seventh-grade students and their teacher to a nearby learning center when he then tried to park the bus, backing into a tree limb and abruptly stopping the bus. Thankfully, only one 12-year old girl was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. No other information has been released reporting any other student injuries. As a result of the accident, the bus driver was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child passenger 15 years or younger, driving while intoxicated while operating a school bus with students on board, and endangering the welfare of a child.
Only a few weeks before this accident, another school bus driver was arrested when police found an open bottle of alcohol on the bus shortly after he crashed it. A third school bus driver was also arrested on several charges after he crashed into a home just after leaving an elementary school with five children on board. Though all of the above accidents occurred in New York City, our attorneys were surprised to learn that in addition to these accidents, a few minor school bus accidents were recently reported in downtown Chicago.
Though the above accidents did not result in a large amount of injuries, the National Highway Traffic safety Administration’s (NHTSA) statistics indicate that 8,000 children are injured in school bus accidents each year. Many of these accidents occur due to collisions between buses and trucks or cars, and others occur due to vehicles striking children near or around school buses. However, accidents that occur due to driver negligence are unfortunately common.
Bus drivers are expected to follow all rules and regulation necessary to protect the safety of passengers and pedestrians on the roadway, including owning a proper license, properly maintaining their vehicle, and ensuring they can operate the bus attentively and responsibly. In the above reports, this was clearly not the case. When an accident does occur due to a careless bus driver, victims have the right to seek compensation for any injuries they sustained as a result.
If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in an Illinois bus accident due to a negligent driver, please contact our Chicago bus accident lawyers at Levin & Perconti to learn about what rights may be available to you.