With fall right around the corner, many Washington parents are starting to make decisions about where their children will go to school in the fall. While many factors can go into making this decision, transportation often weighs heavily on parents’ minds. Parents need to know that their children can get to and from school in a safe and efficient manner. In many cases, parents may need to rely on a school bus.
These parents need to know that the school bus will be safe. This often starts with the school bus driver. Parents must be assured that the driver is qualified to operate a large bus and will be attentive to the roadway. Parents trust the safety of their children to school bus drivers and drivers must take the job seriously.
However, safety doesn’t stop with the driver. Even the safest of drivers will be ineffective if the school bus is in disrepair. Therefore, the State of Washington has an inspection process to ensure that buses are mechanically sound and safe for students. According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, Washington has a rigorous inspection process for buses that are entering its fleet. These buses must pass the initial inspection — performed by the Washington State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Division — before they can operate. To do this, buses must meet minimum specifications.
Older buses must also undergo an inspection each year. Under Washington law, 100 percent of the school buses must be inspected each year. Additionally, the State Patrol will inspect 25 percent of the school bus fleet randomly, without notice. If a bus fails to pass either inspection then it cannot operate until repairs have been made.
School bus accidents are rare because of the extreme measures taken to keep kids safe. However, they still occur, and when they do, they can result in injury or even death. Bus accident victims may wish to consult an attorney to get information about their legal rights.