Signs Your Child’s School Bus Is Overcrowded

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Dec 21, 2022 in Personal Injury

Opting to use school buses as means of transportation is a convenient way to ensure your child gets to school safely and on time. However, if buses become overcrowded, it may increase the likelihood of an injury in a school bus accident. Capacity is determined by manufacturers and must be closely monitored by the school system to ensure optimal safety. Almost 18,000 victims were injured in school bus-related accidents between 2019 and 2020. Signs that may indicate an overcrowded bus include your child suddenly requesting to change transportation methods, complaining of sharing seats with more than one person, a lack of disciplinary control to or from school, or other warning signs. 

The Rizk Law lawyers understand the importance of the school system ensuring that school buses remain at a safe capacity. If your child is harmed due to the school’s or bus driver’s neglect of remaining below or at capacity, you may seek compensatory damages for losses sustained in a bus accident. 

4 Signs Your Child’s School Bus Is Overcrowded 

When sending your child to school, you trust that the school system prioritizes their safety and security. However, there are instances where schools have opted to run buses that are dangerously overcrowded, which increases the risk of injury in a bus-related accident. 

The following are four signs your child’s bus may be overcrowded: 

1. Sudden Request to Change Transportation Methods 

If your child faithfully used the school bus as a means of transportation to and from school but suddenly requests to carpool, use parent drop-off, or walk to school instead, there may be a bigger issue at hand. 

Typically, school buses support a positive environment that bolsters friendships and may generally be used as an opportunity to unwind before the beginning or end of the day. Overcrowding tarnishes this environment by forcing students to have three to a seat, sit in aisles, or stand while the bus is in motion, which may detract from your child’s experience. 

2. Complaints of Sharing a Bus Seat 

If you notice that a bus driver is keeping tallies when your child enters the bus to school, you may soon get complaints about having to share three or more to a bus seat. Being jammed into a bus seat is dangerous, as students must have all of their limbs facing forward and their bodies behind each seat’s back. School buses are developed to protect passengers through compartmentalization, which includes closely spaced seats and tall, energy-absorbing seat backs. 

3. Children Standing or Sitting in the Aisle During Pickup or Drop Off 

Upon picking up or dropping off your child at the bus stop, you may notice children standing or sitting in the aisle. This is a red flag that must be addressed with the bus driver or school administration. In the event of an accident, students may not have a clear aisle to make an emergency exit. Additionally, these students have no protection and are at high risk for injuries or fatalities in a bus accident. 

Unfortunately, there are no federal regulations to specify the number of students permitted on the bus. The school bus manufacturers are in charge of designating a safe capacity. 

4. Lack of Disciplinary Control 

If you find out your child’s school bus frequently experiences unacceptable or harmful situations, such as fighting or bullying, it may indicate overcrowding. While the bus driver is transporting students, they may not be able to handle the behavior of passengers if the bus is overcapacity. 

Fault for a School Bus Accident 

With the help of experienced school-bus accident lawyers, you may seek accountability if your child was harmed in an accident due to overcrowding. We may conduct an extensive investigation into the accident and obtain evidence of negligence that led to your child’s injuries. For example, if your child was unable to make an emergency exit because of the aisle being blocked by passengers without a seat, you may seek compensatory damages for medical expenses and other economic and non-economic losses. 

The following parties may be held responsible for overcrowding in a bus accident claim: 

  • Bus driver 
  • The school district that hired the bus driver 
  • A third-party agency or contractor 
  • Insurance company 

School districts may have unique circumstances governing their transportation services. Working with a skilled bus accident lawyer helps you understand and investigate potential policies and contracts in place so that you can include all accountable parties in a legal claim.

Speak With the Experienced Oregon Rizk Law Lawyers About Your Bus Accident Claim 

Overcrowded buses are unacceptable and may put your child at risk of injury in a bus accident. If your child has been harmed due to a bus driver or school negligence by allowing an overcapacity of passengers, speak with the Rizk Law lawyers for an assessment of your claim. 

Schedule a free case review by calling (503) 245-5677 or filling out our contact form.