Schoolchildren across the state of Washington use school buses to get to and from school. The use of a school bus has been shown to be a very safe and effective method for transporting children each day. There are, however, a number of safety precautions in place to try and help keep children safe while riding on a bus. In particular, precautions must be taken to ensure that children are not hit by the school bus or other vehicles as they enter and exit the bus.
One way to ensure that children are not injured while getting on or off the bus is the use of warning signs and lights. Under Washington laws, the school bus driver must use these lights and other visual signs when the driver is stopped on a road to pick up or drop off children.
However, school bus drivers are not the only ones responsible for helping keep children safe. Other drivers also have responsibilities when it comes to school bus safety. In Washington, drivers are expected to stop when they approach a school bus that is stopped with its lights and safety signs activated. This applies when the driver approaches the bus from either direction on a regular roadway.
This rule, however, does not apply on a divided highway. On a divided highway, drivers traveling in the opposite direction from the school bus are not required to stop. Additionally, drivers on roads with at least three lanes are not required to stop if the school bus is traveling in the opposite direction.
If a driver is required to stop for a school bus, the driver may not continue driving until the school bus moves or deactivates the bus's visual signals.
School bus accidents can occur causing serious injuries to children throughout the state. When school bus drivers or other drivers fail to take precautions to protect children, these serious accidents occur. Bus accident victims and their families should know their legal rights. An attorney can help to give specific legal advice on how to proceed following a bus accident.