School bus accidents in New York City are rare; however, there are roughly 60 per day nationwide. But when a collision happens or a bus leaves the roadway our most vulnerable population (our children) is placed in grave danger. That’s a reality that several parents are facing this week after a school bus plowed through the guardrail on a New Jersey highway in Essex County. The bus, travelling on Route 280, slammed into the guardrail at speed and came to a stop half in and half out of the travel lane.
The bus was loaded with young students at the time of the crash. Many were treated at the scene of the bus accident for minor injuries and released to their parents. While police continue to investigate the cause of this terrible crash, news outlets have noted that at least two other cars were involved.
As investigations into several high-profile school bus accidents in and around New York City have concluded, the requirements for becoming a bus driver are limited-sometimes laughable. Indeed, and investigative report by CBS news found that a shocking number of bus drivers have criminal records-including DUI arrests. The investigators found that while 21 states reported that not a single bus driver had prior DUI arrests, at least one such case was found in each of the states.
These are not the type of people most of us imagine being placed in control of our children. How did they get placed in these roles? Many drivers skirt federal regulations. Federal CDL licensing requires a criminal background check if the driver will be crossing state lines. Because most school buses don’t travel between states, drivers with checkered pasts remain behind the wheel in New York.
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident in New York City, you may be able to hold the school district, the driver, and the company they work for liable for injuries, damages, and pain and suffering.