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.

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. 

Bus Driver Asked Children, "Are Y'all Ready To Die," Before Crashing

Johnthony Walker, 24, was charged with vehicular homicide after allegedly killing 5 children from Woodmore Elementary School, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 21, 2016. Walker was a school bus driver transporting 35 children ranging from ages 5 to 10. According to CBS News, more than 20 children were injured and had to be rushed to the hospital after it took nearly two hours for emergency crews to clear them from the accident. Kirk Kelly, the interim school superintendent, confirmed that one of the children killed in the accident was a kindergartner, another was a first grader, and three of them were in the fourth grade. Kelly refused to release the names of the students, but did divulge that 12 of the students have remained hospitalized with 6 of them in intensive care. 

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The accident was caused by Walker who was supposedly not paying attention and going well over the posted 30 miles per hour speed limit. Jasmine Mateen, whose 6-year-old daughter was killed in the crash, recounts, “My daughter said right before the bus flipped that he was speeding around the curve and asked them ‘Are y’all ready to die?’” According to another boy on the bus, the bus then hit a garbage bag and a mailbox before flipping over and finally wrapping around a tree.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent out investigators to acquire the school bus’ black box. The black box contains data of the vehicles movements which the NTSB will analyze to confirm or deny witness accounts and the local authorities' findings. NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart says they are focusing on gathering witness accounts and any other evidence pertaining to the accident, including if the school bus had any cameras.

Ms. Mateen had a total of three children aboard the bus, including her daughter who died in the accident. One of the children, who was seated next to the sister who passed away, claims to have seen her sister “smushed” between the seats. Mateen, along with a few other parents whose children rode on Walker’s bus, claim to have complained about Walker’s incessant habit of speeding, before the accident but were unsuccessful in causing action to be taken. 

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On whether or not the school district had received the complaints the parents made involving Walker, Amy Kutcher, the Hamilton County School District Spokeswoman, declined to say. Kutcher would only admit to Walker being an employee who was hired by an outside contractor, Durham School Services. “Legally there is no way that we could discipline someone who is not our employee,” Kutcher continued to say, “We’ve got 192 Durham bus drivers. Obviously, this is a bad one.”  
  
The Durham School Services CEO,  David A Duke, did release a statement via twitter saying that the company is “devastated” by the accident and are working with authorities as well as school officials to investigate the crash. The NY Post researched that Durham School Services, "has had 346 crashes over two years, including three resulting in deaths and 142 with injuries, according to federal figures. During that period, it had 53 incidents involving unsafe driving violations."

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Walker actually had a sullied driving record. Not only was he found at fault in an accident in which his bus crossed the yellow line on a curve and hit another vehicle, on September 20th, but his license was also suspended for a month in 2014 for failing to show proof of insurance. Aside from a spotty driving record however, it did not appear that Walker had a criminal record in Tennessee. In fact, Walker's mother, Gwenevere Cook assured WDEF, “He don’t hang on the street, he don’t smoke, he don’t do drugs, he don’t drink. He’s never been in trouble, never, ever been in trouble.” Instead Walker was a father to a three-year old and a well-liked bus driver. 

Walker appeared before a judge on November 29, 2016 facing five counts of vehicular homicide and charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving. According to CNN, a police spokeswoman said that a sixth vehicular homicide charge would likely be added.


School bus accidents are even more saddening than regular bus accidents as they involve children. As heartbreaking as the Chattanooga bus crash was, citizens of Michigan should remember that any type of motor vehicle accident is always possible. Injuries sustained in automobile collisions can be minor or may even lead to death. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, including a public bus or school bus crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm is highly experienced in handling all types of automobile accidents and will fight to grant you any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan Law. Let us do the hard work while you and your family focus on healing. Contact us, 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.”

SMART Bus Accident Lawyer

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.