Texas Personal Injury Law Blog

Student Dies Falling From School Bus

A 14-year-old boy in Harlingen recently died after falling out of the rear emergency door of a moving school bus. At the time that this accident occurred, Vernon Middle School students were on a field trip to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus in Edinburg. The bus was traveling on Expressway 281 in Edinburg when the 14-year-old fell out of the emergency door at the back of the bus. He was subsequently taken to a nearby medical facility where he died from his injuries. After the accident, law enforcement officials examined videotapes, interviewed students, and photographed the bus. There is also a four-camera placement on the bus which allows for a 100% view of the interior of the bus. Fortunately, all other bus passengers were safe and returned to Harlingen immediately after the accident.

Common Types of Bus Accidents

There are many ways that bus accidents can occur, with the most common causes of accidents including the following:

  • Alcohol or Drugs: Bus drivers who operate vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol are at great risk of causing catastrophic accidents.
  • Distracted Driving: There are a variety of ways that bus drivers can become distracted like talking on the cell phone, texting, eating, drinking beverages, and talking to passengers.
  • Inadequate Passenger Protection: School buses almost always lack seat belts. Other potentially inadequate passenger protections include emergency exits, fire warning devices, push-out windows, ventilation, and guard rails or grab handles.
  • Negligent Bus Drivers: There are a variety of ways in which bus drivers can be negligent, such as failing to respond to traffic signals adequately, improperly passing other vehicles on the road, and failing to pay attention to other vehicles.
  • Speeding Bus Drivers: The posted speed limit for vehicles varies greatly depending upon the location and type of road on which a bus is traveling.
  • Weight Distribution Problems: School buses are subject to particular regulation regarding the maximum axle weight that may be placed on the vehicle. Uneven or unequal weight distribution can cause serious accidents.

Fore more information on causes of bus accidents, please see our bus accidents page.

Increasing Children’s Safety on Buses

There are some key steps that parents can take to improve a child’s safety while riding a school bus, which include the following:

  • Instruct a Child to be Careful: Children must be aware of their surroundings at a bus stop and take steps to minimize distractions like cell phones, listening to loud music, and talking with friends.
  • Carefully Observe Children at a Bus Stop: If a parent has the ability, he or she should continue to check on the bus stop location to make sure that there are no potential hazards that could seriously injure a child.
  • Teach a Child Proper Bus Safety: Children should know how to recognize and respond to any unsafe situation that can arise at a bus stop or while riding on a bus.

Following these simple steps could prevent another tragedy from occurring.