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by Distracted Driving Lawyer, Tim O’Hare

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It has been a tragic week for families across the country as five school-aged children lost their lives in a string of accidents at school bus stops.

The first accident on Tuesday morning killed 6-year-old twins, Xzavier and Mason Ingle and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia. Their 11-year-old neighbor was airlifted to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

On Wednesday, 9-year-old Dalen was killed after being hit by a truck at his Mississippi school bus stop.  In Kentucky, two young brothers were hit while crossing an intersection.

In Pennsylvania on Thursday, a school bus driver arrived at a bus stop to find a 7-year-old boy who had been killed in a hit-and-run while waiting for the bus. On the same day in Tampa, five children and two adults were hospitalized after being struck by a vehicle at a bus stop.

These tragic accidents highlight the dangers our children face while getting on and off a school bus. According to the National Safety Council, each year, about 120 fatalities occur at school bus stops across the nation. Many of these accidents are the result of distracted driving.

The laws regarding school bus stops are much the same in most states. According to Texas law, drivers in all lanes must stop when a school bus is stopped with it’s “stop” arm extended or flashing red lights are on. If there is a median or barrier in the road, traffic on the other side of the road from where the bus is stopped does not have to stop.

As daylight savings time comes to an end this weekend, it’s important to take extra precautions as more children will be getting on school buses in the dark. Put away distractions and focus on the road, especially during your morning commute when children are out waiting on their bus to take them to school.

If you are a parent, take some time to review these important school bus and school safety tips with your child.

1. Always get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is due to arrive.
2. Never run across the road to catch the bus.
3. If you have to walk on roads where there is no sidewalk, walk against traffic. Try to stay off the road as much as possible.
4. When crossing the street to get to the bus, always look left, then right, then left again. If cars or other objects are obstructing your view, go to the nearest corner crosswalk.
5. When the bus approaches, stand at least three large steps from the curb.
6. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay to board before stepping onto the bus.
7. Never walk behind the bus or close to the side of the bus. You could be in the driver’s blind spot.
8. If you drop something near the bus, don’t pick it up until you tell the bus driver or he/she may not see you.
9. Pay attention while crossing the street. Don’t rely solely on the crossing guard for safety; be sure to always look both ways before crossing.

If you or your child has been hurt as the result of a school bus or transportation-related accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free consultation with a Dallas car accident injury attorney.

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