Federal officials in the U.S. say that bus drivers who use cell phones while driving may be partially to blame for the 17,000 school children that sustain injuries from school bus accidents each year. In an undercover news report by ABC News and Good Morning America, the reporting team got on school buses to observe a number of bus drivers. Over four days, the news team reported seeing 17 bus drivers dialing their cell phone while driving with school children on the bus. Two bus drivers reportedly stopped using the phone when they saw that a news camera crew was shooting them.
Examples of school bus accidents involving cell phone-using bus drivers:
· A bus driver in Prince Georges County, Maryland lost control of the bus while talking on his cell phone. 30 students were hospitalized.
· An 8-year-old girl lost her right forearm. The bus driver was talking on his cell phone when the accident occurred.
The Governors Highway Safety Association says that all states should make it illegal for bus drivers to use their cell phone when they have passengers riding their bus.
Only the District of Columbia and 11 U.S. states ban cell phone use while driving a bus:
· New Jersey
· Rhode Island
The Official Journal Of American Academy of Pediatrics Offers The Following Statistics Regarding School Bus-Related Injuries For Teenagers And Children:
· There were an estimated 51100 school bus–related injuries treated in US emergency departments from 2001 to 2003, for a national estimate of 17000 injuries.
· Ninety-seven percent of children were treated and released from the hospital.
· Children 10 to 14 years of age accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries.
· Motor vehicle crashes accounted for 42.3% of all injuries, followed by injuries that occurred as the child was boarding/alighting/approaching the bus (23.8%). Head injuries accounted for more than half (52.1%) of all injuries among children.
· Strains and sprains accounted for the highest percentage of all injuries, followed by contusions and abrasions (28.3%) and lacerations (14.9%).
· More than three quarters (77.7%) of lacerations were to the head.
The personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen represents clients, including teenagers and children, who have been injured in an accident as a result of another person’s negligence. If you have a child who has been injured in a school bus accident due to the negligence of the bus driver or another person, in the Washington D.C. area or in Maryland, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen today.
Driving and Dialing Bus Drivers May Cause Accidents, ABCnews.com, February 7, 2007
School Bus–Related Injuries Among Children and Teenagers in the United States, 2001-2003, The Official Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics
Cell Phone Laws as of September 2006, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Related Web Resource:
School Bus Crash Reports 2007, The National Coalition for School Bus Safety