A 9-year-old boy was killed and 16 others were injured in a recent school bus accident in Port St. Lucie. According to the TC Palm, a loaded sod truck rammed right into the side of the bus.
Our St. Lucie school injury lawyers understand that school buses might be coming to a rest here soon, with the end of the school year approaching. But that doesn’t mean that our students won’t still be out traveling for school trips and other events. When the school buses are parked, 15-passenger vans are a common mode of transportation. They’re used for summer camps and for other fun activities. But the truth is that they may be no safer than school buses. In fact, federal law now prohibits most schools from using them for student transportation.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these 15-passenger vans are high susceptible to serious rollover accidents. It’s because they’re sensitive to loading. That’s why officials with the NHTSA are urging drivers to make sure that they understand how much weight these vans can hold. The heavier these vehicles are, the harder they are to handle.
There’s also a high risk for accidents with these vans because, according to research, drivers of these vans oftentimes lack the experience of driving a larger vehicle. These vans handle a lot differently than our smaller passenger vehicles. They’re longer and they’re wider. Only drivers with commercial driving experience should jump behind the wheel of these vans.
Another common factor of these van rollover accidents are improperly inflated tires. According to a recent survey from the NHTSA, about a third of all 15-passenger vans have at least one tire that is significantly under-inflated. To know how to best inflate your tires, your best bet is to check the vehicle’s owner’s manual. You want to make sure you fill them up before every long-distance trip and check them regularly.
If you’re driving one of these vans, be sure that you keep your eye on the speed. The faster you’re traveling, the higher your risks are for an accident as taller, narrower vehicles are more likely to rollover than shorter, wider vehicles. That’s why it’s more important for the drivers of these larger vans to slow down and to be careful. This is especially important when we run into that Florida rain. Make sure you’re adjusting your driving habits to the weather outside.
Keep up on the maintenance of the van, too. Check the fluids regularly, along with the windshield wipers and the condition of the tires. Preventative maintenance is one of your best ways to stay out of an accident.
You can’t take a break from safety if you’re a passenger in one of these vans either. Make sure that you’re always wearing your seat belt on every single trip. As a matter of fact, close to 90 percent of the people who have been killed in rollover accidents in these kinds of vans were reportedly not wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident.
If you or your child has been injured, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free and confidential consultation at 1-800-561-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Broward Bus Driver “Retires” Before Being Fired, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, February 25, 2013
School Bus Accident in St. Lucie County Kills Young Rider, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, August 1, 2012