Bus Safety Tips For Parents And Children

Getting on a bus means going on an adventure. Sure, buses take students to school and adults to work, but they can also take people on fun adventures like field trips to The Detroit Zoo or to the Tigers game! However, many people are wary of bus transportation at the moment because, within the last week, several horrific bus accidents have been reported in the news.

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One devastating bus accident revolved around a Canadian hockey team on their way to a playoff game. The travel bus containing 29 passengers collided with a tractor-trailer, killing 15 of the passengers aboard, CNN reported.

A second crash within the same week as the Canadian hockey team bus crash, revolved around a charter bus accident that took place in New York. The charter bus was taller than the overpass it was attempting to driver under, which lead to  the whole roof of the bus being sliced off. Dozens of students have been injured, some severely, in the New York charter bus accident, as reported by USA Today.  

The New York Times  reported another school bus crash on Monday, April 9, 2018 which involved 23 school children from ages 4-12, and 4 adults. This third bus accident took place in India and there is no known exact cause for the bus crash, as investigators have just begun their research into the crash.

These horrific bus crashes prove that bus accidents can happen anywhere, at any time, and for any reason. Since 2 of the 3 bus crashes were school bus accidents, The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog wants to focus on the importance of school bus safety. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provides the following school bus safety tips for parents and students to keep their school commutes safe:

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY TIPS

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  • Get to the school bus stop five minutes early, so you won't have to run across the road to catch the bus.

  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic. Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.

  • Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.

  • Never push when getting on or off of the school bus.

  • Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you.

  • Be aware - Cross with Care! Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road.

  • When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.

  • Talk quietly; do not distract your school bus driver.

  • If your school bus crosses railroad tracks, be calm and quiet so that your driver can listen for a train. Always obey your school bus driver's instructions, so that he or she can make safe decisions.

  • Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.

  • When getting off of the school bus, make sure that all drawstrings and other loose objects are secure so that they don't get caught on the handrail or the door.

  • Never cross the street behind the school bus.

  • If you leave something on the bus or drop something outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus.

  • Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger.

Following these school bus safety tips may help students get to and from school safely, but as we learned this week, not all bus accidents can be fully prevented. It’s always important to take safety precautions when operating or riding in any type of motor vehicle. The Michigan Law Firm, PC sends our deepest condolences to all those involved in the above-mentioned bus crashes, and well wishes to any bus accident survivors.


If you or anyone you know have been in a bus crash, or any type of motor vehicle accident, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.

Mother and Son Die After Colliding with School Bus

A mother and son from mid-Michigan died earlier this month after colliding with a school bus. According to the Detroit Free Press, Joshua Schafer was driving with his mother Kimberly when he rear-ended a school bus, killing both himself and his mother, who was riding in the passenger seat. Joshua was 19 years old, and Kimberly was 56.

The accident occurred in Isabella Township, Michigan, near Mount Pleasant. On Friday, September 8th, at around 7:45 AM, the bus was traveling eastbound on Weidman Road, just west of Whiteville Road. Mlive reported that the bus had stopped to pick up the first student on its route when it was hit. The car went underneath the bus. The bus driver was the only person on board at the time, and was not injured. Police said that no photos or videos of the crash were available.

school bus accident

Joshua was a sophomore at Central Michigan University, according to the university newspaper. It was his first week on campus, as he had transferred from Mid-Michigan Community College.

Authorities say that early morning sun may have been a contributing factor to the accident, as the car was facing and traveling eastbound, into the bright morning sun. While research on sunglare related accidents is sparse and very few statistics are available, we do know that school bus related accidents are unfortunately common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 1,353 people died in automobile accidents involving school buses between 2003 and 2014. 71% of those who died were not traveling on the school bus. For more information on school bus car accidents, as well as safety tips for drivers when sharing the road with school buses, check out this recent post from The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC.


When sharing the road with school buses, drivers need to slow down, and stop when appropriate. Even so, car collisions involving school buses will still occur, resulting in injury or death. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident involving a school bus, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. 

School Bus Traffic Safety Laws for Drivers

As students across Michigan return to classes for the new school year, drivers are sure to notice an increased number of school buses on the road. School buses are an excellent mode of transportation for students. In fact, riding a bus is safer than walking or driving a family vehicle. More so, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), students are 70x more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus as opposed to traveling in a car. The reason for this level of safety may be due to how school buses are designed. First, the bright yellow color of a school bus makes it highly visible. Then, the equipped flashing lights, cross-view mirrors, and stop-sign arms, not to mention protective seating inside the bus, also help to keep students safe.

Michigan School Bus Accident Lawyer

In addition to these design elements, there are traffic laws put in place that also keep school buses safe on the road. However, the traffic laws that drivers must follow when driving near a school bus can be a source of confusion, and not following these laws properly may lead to a school bus crash on the road or a pedestrian car crash at a student crossing. According to the NHSTA, more school-age pedestrians are killed during the hour before or after school than any other time of day, largely due to drivers not stopping when they are near school buses. Data published by the NHSTA shows that 1,353 people were killed in accidents involving school buses between 2003 and 2014. Of those who died, 71% were not on the school bus but were were traveling in other vehicles, such as sedans and SUVs.

School bus traffic laws can be confusing, but the Michigan State Police has offers the following recommendations to help drivers avoid becoming involved in school bus car crashes.

School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers

  1. Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing.

  2. Stop at least 20 feet away for buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway.

  3. Slow down in or near school and residential areas.

  4. Look for clues-such as safety patrols, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds-that indicate children might be in the area.

  5. Watch for children between parked cars and other objects.

  6. School buses are like traffic signals:
    • When overhead lights are flashing yellow: Prepare to stop.
    • When overhead lights are flashing red: Stop.
    • When hazard warning lights are flashing: Proceed with caution.

School Bus Safety Tips for Students

  1. Always stay in sight of the bus driver.
  2. Don't hurry off the bus; check traffic first.
  3. Don't go back to the bus after exiting.

As the NHSTA notes, the greatest risk does not come from riding the bus, but from approaching or leaving one. While following these tips cannot guarantee bus accidents won't happen, they may help keep both students and drivers safe by reducing the number of injuries and deaths from school bus accidents. 


Stopping for school buses is the law, but this law is not always followed. Not stopping for school buses may result in injury or death for those who are on the school bus, those who are traveling in other vehicles, and even pedestrians. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a school bus crash or any type of bus accident, call The Michigan Law Firm PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our firm is experienced in handling personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases.
 

Should School Buses Have Seat belts?

Michigan School Bus Crash Lawyer

Many people may remember the 2016 Chattanooga, Tennessee school bus crash that killed 5 students and injured more than 20 children. While this school bus accident shocked and stunned most of the country, in reality, school bus crashes are more common than most people realize. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that there have been an average of 135 fatalities per year from school-transportation-related crashes since 2003. To make matter worse, there is currently no federal regulation that requires children to wear seat belts on school buses. One of the arguments against school buses having seat belts is actually that the large vehicles are statistically shown to be safer than passenger vehicles. The NHTSA describes how large school buses are heavier and distribute crash forces differently than passenger vehicles and light trucks do. Strong, closely-spaced seats with energy-absorbing seat backs in school buses are supposed to "compartmentalize" children enough that they are protected without buckling up. 

Another reason many people argue against buses having seat belts is due to the incremental amount it would cost to install them. CNN estimates that seat belt installations inside of a large school bus could range anywhere between $7,346 to $10,296. "Installing seat belts on buses is not free, and requiring their installation might mean reducing funding on other critical safety aspects, such as crossing guards for those children who do walk to school," said Richard Williams, former director of the regulatory studies program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

On the other hand, and possibly more importantly, the NHTSA argues that by adding three-point seat belts to school buses, the average number of lives lost annually in school bus crashes could be cut in half. Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council also makes a good point about installing seat belts on school buses. 

"That's the best protection that we can give our kids. It's what they're used to in cars," said Hersman. "We know that there are very few fatalities involving children on school buses every year-they are a safe form of transportation-but anything we can do to make them safer is really our responsibility." 

Michigan School Bus Accident Lawyer

Currently, there are only six states that have legislation in place requiring buses to have seat belts - California, Texas, Florida, New York, Louisiana, and New Jersey. Despite the lack of regulation around the country, it is important for motor vehicle operators, and especially school bus drivers, to be screened properly and to focus on safe driving. A car, truck, or bus crash may happen at any time, and wearing a seat belt is just one of many ways for drivers to stay safe while on the road.

Incidentally, a similar bus crash to the one in Chattanooga also happened in Anaheim, California. The Anaheim bus slammed into a light pole and some trees, splitting open the left side of the vehicle while students from a middle school were on board. Both of the buses involved in the Chattanooga and Anaheim accidents were driven by 24-year-olds, in clear and dry conditions, and yet, both buses happened to flip onto their sides. The only difference is that the bus in Anaheim was equipped with seat belts and no one was killed.

So, what do readers of The Michigan Law Firm, Blog think? Given the above information, do you think school buses should have seat belts?


Although the government requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts in passenger vehicles for their safety on the road, they don't enforce seat belt safety in all modes of transportation. Although the NHTSA lists school buses as one of the safest modes of transportation for school-age children, due to their safe design with reinforced sides, bright coloring, stop signs, and standard seat size and height, it couldn't possibly hurt to wear a seat belt on a school bus anyway, could it? Have you, your child, or someone else's child been involved in a school bus accident or any kind of bus accident? If so, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Introducing The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog has maintained a focus on the steady development of autonomous vehicle projects and the various companies that are preparing for future autonomous vehicle production. However, cars are not the only forms of transportation that will soon become automated.

Daimler, the creator of the Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles, is revolutionizing public city transportation by creating the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, a semi-automated bus with CityPilot. CityPilot is an autonomous driving system designed by Daimler, that allows semi-automated buses to drive safely and efficiently in a special, designated lane up to 43 mph. According to Daimler’s website, the Future Bus has been the next development following the Mercedes-Benz Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, a partially automated semi-truck that has already been driving on its own, on motorways. The CityPilot system was created based off of Highway Pilot technology, yet it has undergone more advanced developments and possesses more functions.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

CityPilot is equipped with about a dozen cameras that scan the road, while short and long radar systems monitor the route ahead. This allows the bus to recognize and communicate with traffic lights, perceive obstacles-most importantly pedestrians-operate and brake autonomously, and position itself precisely to the centimeter. The Future Bus can approach stops automatically and open its doors to let citizens in an out, drive through tunnels, includes a precise GPS navigation system, and can reach a top speed of 70 km/h (about 43 mph). For safety precautions, a human driver sits at the wheel to monitor the route, and may take control of the wheel at any moment if necessary.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

The interior and exterior design gives the Future Bus a unique, futuristic look, while offering passengers a state-of-the-art, comfortable ride. The exterior offers a ground-breaking design including an array of smooth contours, cutting edge door layouts, and sleek lines designed to both appeal to the aesthetic and to put the 'future' in Future Bus. The interior is designed with an open, relaxed layout made up of 3 zones based on how long the passenger plans to ride. Each zone is comprised of very modern, comfortable seating, and the ceiling lights have been arranged to resemble a leaf canopy. Passengers are also able to access information and entertainment through large monitors in the middle passenger department, and can even charge their smartphones on charging pads next to their seats.

As reported by The Verge, the Future Bus has already been put to the test as it completed a 30 km (about 12 miles) route through the Netherlands back in July, 2016. This route included challenging turns, tunnels, traffic lights, and pedestrians. The bus was successfully able to navigate itself flawlessly without the driver needing to turn the wheel, brake, or accelerate at any moment.

Source:  Diamler

Source: Diamler

According to Mashable, unlike the Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, in which Daimler plans to begin production in 2020, the company does not plan to produce Future Bus Prototypes. Instead, Daimler plans to use certain parts of the advanced technology and semi-autonomous system to implement into regular city buses for the future, as well as focusing on the improvement of its zero-emission production plans. So, it could be possible that Detroit and other major Michigan cities such as Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor, may have automated public transportation in the future!


The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is a ground-breaking innovation built with safety features that far exceed what is humanly possible. With cameras and radar systems that can detect even the smallest motions during a route, and an autonomous driving system that can force itself to brake on a dime, it is hard to imagine any safety risks that can occur. However, it is imperative to note that buses, regardless if a human is driving or not, may prove a risk to citizens and may be prone to accidents. According to The Accident Data Center, over 55,000 people are injured by buses in the US per year. If you or anyone you know has been injured by a bus, car, or been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Study: Commuters Want Reliability over Technology Upgrades

A new report from research group TransitCenter suggests that amenities such as free Wi-Fi and comfy seats aren’t as important to riders as previously thought. The study concludes that people don’t care about the fancy features of public transportation, they don’t think that they convince more people to ride a bus, and funding would be more useful for other system improvements. 

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Wired reports that TransitCenter surveyed more than 3,000 online respondents from 17 regions across the country about the type of upgrades they would like to see on their daily commutes. These choices included free Wi-Fi, outlets, more frequent service, faster travel times, cheaper fares, robust shelters built for bad weather, and updates on when their bus would arrive. The survey showed that features such as outlets and Wi-Fi were the least important to commuters. This survey proved that customers favor reliability and practicality over technology upgrades and flashy amenities. Earlier this year, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was scorned by the public for adding Wi-Fi and USB charging ports to 75 new buses, which will cost between $2,000 and $3,000 per bus, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

“Many of the young people using our system today grew up with a smartphone in one hand a tablet in the other,” MTA chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergrast said when the unveiling of the new technology systems were rolled out. “They’re demanding more Wi-Fi, more real-time information, more charging stations, connectivity, more apps, and more screens. They aren’t luxury items anymore.”

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Steven Higashide, TransitCenter’s Senior Program Analyst believes transit officials may not make the best decisions on behalf of the commuters because they aren’t the ones that are riding the bus and subway everyday. “We’re really not trying to criticize agencies for providing Wi-Fi, but it won’t improve service,” Higashide explained. Aarian Marshall from Wired believes that it’s a zero sum game, and either luxury or reliability takes precedence. “The stakes are higher for US cities where transit ridership-especially on the unglamourous but highly useful bus-is stagnant or declining. It’s new buses or a more robust, concentrated network. It’s a shelter with a countdown clock or a new tree next to the bus stop,” Marshall wrote. 


The Metro Detroit area is continuing to enhance the accessibility to public transportation for commuters so they can get to work or school on time. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident involving a public transportation vehicle such as a SMART Bus, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our experienced attorneys will work alongside you to get you the help you need, so that you can focus on your recovery. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Pedestrian Hit By Ann Arbor Bus

A Pedestrian faces minor facial injuries after a run in with an Ann Arbor, Michgian white bus this past Tuesday, March 5, 2016. MLive reported that the incident occurred around 12:30 P.M. when a pedestrian walked out into traffic and was struck by a bus on the corner of East Liberty Street and South Fourth Street. Although the jay-walker suffered minor facial injuries, they refused any treatment. The scene was cleared by 12:45 P.M. and no citations were issued for the incident, but police implied that the collision was the pedestrian's fault because they walked into oncoming traffic.

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Ann Arbor is known for its jaywalking culture, especially around the University of Michigan’s campus. Students can be seen crossing the road wherever they feel and whenever they feel, even around oncoming traffic. This can be especially dangerous, when there is alcohol involved or at night when visibility is low and pedestrians are unlikely to be wearing reflective clothing. 

The University of Michigan has recently began making an attempt to make crossing the street safer for pedestrians, adding two separate cross walks on major streets this past year. One is on State Street and is very well marked with reflective signs and is very well lit, while the other is on South University and has flashing lights when a pedestrian hits the cross button signaling to drivers that someone is about to cross.

Pedestrian Car Crash Lawyer

Even with this new technology it is very important for drivers to always check for pedestrians diligently when driving in areas like Ann Arbor, especially around peak class times when students are out and about. On the other hand, it is also very important for pedestrians to make use of the many crosswalks that the University has put in place for walkers, instead of jaywalking. Using crosswalks allows pedestrians a far more likely chance at being spotted by a car and therefore a far more likely chance to avoid being hit by a vehicle. It is also important for pedestrians to control the volume of any music or audio that they maybe listening to if they have headphones in, especially when crossing the street. Not being able to hear an approaching car or a changing signal can easily result in a pedestrian-automobile collision.

Drivers in cities like Ann Arbor which have a similar jaywalking culture need to be very diligent to ensure they are always looking out for pedestrians and bicycle riders. Pedestrians, in turn, need to ensure they use cross walks and also should not jaywalk unless it is completely necessary, and should always look out for vehicles no matter where they are crossing the street.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of personal injury cases, including pedestrian collisions. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.


SMART Bus Accident In Redford Township, Michigan

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, several people were injured in a crash. According to CBS Detroit. the car accident occurred in Redford Township, Michigan, and it involved a SMART bus, an armored vehicle, and a cement truck. The crash occurred just before noon on Grand Rover Avenue, between Beech Daly Road Inkster Road. The Total Armored car was traveling eastbound when it suffered an unknown mechanical failure, sideswiped a cement truck, and finally came to rest after it crashed into the SMART bus.

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Redford Police officer, Jonathan Strong, said that one person in the armored vehicle was injured, along with multiple SMART bus passengers. The amount of bus passengers injured was not specified, but none of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening. “It crashed into the bus, but there could have been more damage,” Officer Strong said. The front passenger-side wheel was lost off of the armored truck, but no cash was spilled into the streets of Redford Township, MI. The money from the truck was transferred to another vehicle safely before the truck was towed away.

According to Journalist's Resource a publication associated with the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, in 2010, a study was conducted by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute regarding bus accidents. They examined data from traffic accidents between 1999 and 2005, and researchers found that on average, 63,000 buses are involved in an accident each year in the U.S. They also found that of these accidents, about 14,000  resulted in injured passengers, around 325 resulted in a fatal injury.


If you have been injured in a bus, truck, car, or motorcycle crash, call us at 844.MI.FIRM. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC offers free consultations to those who have been injured in accidents. Our accident lawyers will work hard to recover any and all available benefits under Michigan law, including pain and suffering compensation.