School buses are generally a safe and convenient way to get your child off to school. In fact, safety experts claim a child is far more likely to suffer personal injuries being driven by parents as opposed to taking the bus. A recent North Carolina school bus fire, however, calls attention to a little recognized but increasingly common danger. School bus fires can occur due to vehicle issues and faulty maintenance, and it is important for parents to be aware of the potential risks.
School Bus Fires
A recent incident involving a school bus fire in Charlotte, North Carolina has raised concerns with both parents in the district and those in surrounding areas. Fortunately, according to a November 15, 2017, WSOC TV report, the school bus was not transporting students when the fire occurred. However, the report also notes that this incident marks the second North Carolina school bus fire within a two month period.
The fire, which originated in the engine compartment of the bus and spread into the driver and passenger areas, involved a Thomas Freightliner manufactured in the mid-’90s. The cause is being attributed to overheating and has raised concerns about the more than 600 of these types of buses which remain on the road and in use by school districts, including some in South Carolina. To address these concerns, the report states that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) plans on implementing the following five step plan:
- Investigations, conducted by the bus manufacturer and the Department of Transportation into defects that may have caused the buses to burst into flames
- General reviews, of school bus maintenance policies, procedures, and practices
- Re-inspection, which will focus on all buses currently in use
- Criminal investigation, to determine if negligence played a factor
- Safety drills, to ensure students, drivers, and administrators are knowledgeable in what to do in the event a fire occurs
South Carolina School Bus Fires: Is Your Child Safe?
School bus fires have become an ongoing problem for districts in our area. According to reports from The State, there have been close to twenty school bus fires since 2015. The latest involved a Greenville school bus fire which occurred on November 9, 2017. The bus caught fire on the way to school in the morning with 29 children on board.
As in North Carolina, the problems center on buses manufactured in the 1990s. School districts throughout the state rely on over 1,000 of these buses to transport children of all ages each year. While lawmakers have pledged to replace school buses every 15 years, they have yet to fulfill this promise.
Contact Our South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
Though highlighted by the recent North Carolina school bus fire, school bus safety is also a concern in South Carolina. If your child suffers injuries in a school bus fire or accident, you may be able to hold the bus manufacturer and the school district legally accountable. Call or contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm online today and request a free consultation with our South Carolina personal injury attorney.