School bus accidents in Arkansas can wreak havoc on families' lives. In an instant, a child crossing the street or exiting a bus can suddenly sustain a serious injury due to a reckless driver's careless behavior. Experienced pedestrian accident lawyers know how devastating these events can be.
That's why news of a new lighting system designed to make the streets safer for children walking to or from school buses in Arkansas and across the country comes as such a welcome addition just in time before the start of another school year.
School Transportation News recently reported that the Guardian Angel LED lighting system was approved for use in Arkansas. Each state must approve the lighting system in order for it to be used on school buses. However, statewide approval of the system does not imply that the state formally endorses the use Guardian Angel LED lights.
How does the Guardian Angel LED Lighting System Work?
Guardian Angel LED school bus lighting systems vary from state to state. However, the basic premise for each device remains the same - to make school children walking to or away from the school bus more visible.
In most cases, the Guardian Angel LED systems have a light mounted on the left front bumper of the school bus. The light then shines on the road so children have a well-lit path leading to the bus and other drivers can clearly see there's someone in the road.
In some cases, the Guardian Angel LED lighting systems also have high-definition video cameras mounted on the hood to capture video of drivers who fail to stop for a school bus in an effort to apprehend such drivers.
How Common Are School Bus Accidents in Arkansas, Nationwide?
Arkansas is the 15th state nationwide to approve the use of the Guardian Angel LED school bus lighting system. The other 14 states that have already approved the use of the lighting system are Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Vermont, Wisconsin, Texas and Wyoming.
Between 2001 and 2010, there were 1,236 fatal school transportation-related accidents nationwide, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and analyzed by School Bus Fleet website.
In Arkansas, there were 311 school bus accidents during the 2013 - 2014 school year, according to THV 11 News. As for previous years, there were 354 school bus accidents in Arkansas in 2012 - 2013 and during the 2011 - 2012 school year, there 327 Arkansas school bus accidents. But those crash statistics could be higher, according to THV 11 News, which found discrepancies in the data.
What Are Common Causes of School Bus Accidents?
School bus accidents happen for many reasons. Sometimes, speeding or distracted drivers crash into school buses, causing serious bus accidents. Other times, school bus drivers are to blame, especially if the driver is inexperienced, tired and not paying attention to other vehicles.
Many children sustain serious injuries in school bus accidents in Arkansas and across the country every single year. That's why it's important for school officials to do as much as possible to protect the safety of children traveling on school buses every single school day.