For nearly 25 years, attorney Chris Davis and the legal team at Davis Law Group have represented clients who have sustained serious injuries from all types of crashes, including school bus accidents. We believe in focusing on serving our clients and allow everything else to follow from there.
You are welcome to read more about school bus accidents below. If you or a loved one are suffering from a serious injury as the result of a school bus accident, contact Davis Law Group today for a free case evaluation by calling (206) 727-4000 or using our online form.
Washington State School Bus Safety Regulations
The State of Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)’s Student Transportation group provides essential services to support the safe and efficient transportation of the students of Washington state. The office is authorized by the state legislature, WAC 392-144, to adopt the rules governing the training and qualifications of school bus drivers.
In addition, the office oversees the allocation of operations funding and the school bus depreciation and replacement systems, and manages the state bidding process for school buses. Student Transportation also works closely with the Washington State Patrol on the school bus inspection program to ensure safe school buses.
The OSPI issues a number of publications that regulate school bus safety in Washington State. These documents include:
- Washington State School Bus Driver Handbook
- School Bus Specifications Manual
- School Bus Stop Violation Camera Systems Specification
- OSPI/WSP Inspection Interpretations
- School Bus and Traffic Safety Education Vehicle Inspection Manual
School Bus Accident Investigations
Ideally, the school bus accident investigation should begin immediately following the crash, primarily because memories may deteriorate over time. Investigations are required to determine fault, which may be due to failure to comply with safety regulations, policies and procedures or vehicle failure.
In addition to determining fault, one of the primary reasons to do a thorough investigation of school bus accident is to prevent future accidents of identical or similar causes. Furthermore, accident investigations usually shine a light on "hidden" safety issues that can be added to safety features and/or training in the future.
School bus crashes are perhaps the most carefully scrutinized motor vehicle accidents. In most cases the following groups conduct their own investigations:
- The local/responding police department
- The bus driver will write an on-scene “incident/accident report”
- The school district will most likely send a supervisor to create a “supervisor’s crash report”
- The busing contractor will conduct their own investigation
- The attorneys representing injury victims may hire their own private investigator
- The insurance companies that represent any possible defendants in the case may hire their own private investigator
- The lawyers representing the accident victims may hire accident reconstruction expert
- The insurance companies that represent any possible defendants in the case may hire their own accident reconstruction expert
What to Know About School Buses
The following are some of the school bus contractors in the State of Washington:
- Baumann & Sons Buses, Inc.
- Cook Illinois Corporation
- Dean Transportation Incorporated
- Durham School Services
- First Student, Incorporated
- Harlow’s School Bus Service, Incorporated.
- Kobussen Busses, Ltd
- Landmark Bus
- The TransGroup, LLC
The following are some of the school bus manufacturers in the State of Washington:
- Blue Bird Corporation
- IC Bus
- Starcraft Bus
- Thomas Built Buses, Inc.
- Collins Industries
- Girardin Minibus
- Trans Tech
- Van Con
- Lion Bus
The following are types of school buses:
- Type A – Cutaway Van. These are the smallest-sized bus typical passenger capacity ranges from 30-36 passengers.
- Type B – Integrated. These buses are slightly larger than Type A buses but also hold from 30-36 passengers.
- Type C – Conventional Bus. These buses are constructed from a bus body mounted on a medium duty truck chassis. Typical passenger capacity ranges from 36-78 passengers.
- Type D – Transit Bus. These buses are constructed from a bus body mounted to a separate chassis. Typical passenger capacity ranges from 54-90 passengers.
Student Transportation Safety Issues
School buses are a highly regulated segment of the transportation industry. It's regulated federally at the manufacturing level (prior to actual use) and when a school bus is used for a field trip. It's also regulated at a state level when the bus is being regularly used.
States have extensive school bus regulations through motor vehicle and education laws. But school districts also apply their own policies to school bus operations.
- Lack of seat-belts on school buses
- School bus capacity concerns
- Number of students per seat
- Driver training
- School bus outsourcing
Non-Conforming Vans Used for Student Transportation
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) is a federal law passed in 2005 that prohibits non-conforming vans in school bus transportation and closes a loophole that previously only penalized dealerships from selling the vehicles to school districts.
In June 2006, a study by the National Transportation Safety Board found that a majority of states have failed to take any action in following up on SAFETEA-LU.
School Bus Driver Safety Training
Certain elements of training differ for drivers of school buses and other buses. For example, school bus drivers generally receive specialized training in passenger management, loading and unloading procedures, and vehicle evacuation, as well as additional training in transporting, assisting, and monitoring special-needs children.
Contact our Bus Accident Lawyers
If you, or someone you love, have suffered an injury from a school bus accident, Davis Law Group can help you. We understand how terrifying and overwhelming an accident like this can be. With a thorough investigation and fierce negotiations, our legal team can get you the financial recovery you deserve.
For a free consultation and an evaluation of your claim, call attorney Chris Davis and the legal team at Davis Law Group today at (206) 727-4000 or fill out the free consultation form to have one of our attorneys contact you.