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School Bus Safety at Issue in New York City

New York City school bus drivers have ended their strike but are raising questions about the safety record of non-union drivers after a recent school bus accident in Brooklyn injured 14 people, including 11 children.

According to cbslocal.com and DNAInfo, the crash occurred before school on Stanhope Street when a school bus driver hit the driver’s side of a Subaru headed east on Wilson Avenue. The school bus driver and matron were not injured, but the driver of the car suffered serious injuries. The children’s injuries were minor.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 said that the bus involved in the crash was operated by the non-union Fortuna Bus Company.

“This illustrates the safety issues that come up when you rely on a non-union company,” Local 1181 shop steward Robin Benedetto said in a news release. “Union drivers are safe. Non-union drivers are not safe.”

Statistics did not differentiate between union and non-union driving companies, but a December 2012 report in the DNAinfo.com shows a disturbing pattern about bus contractor safety. Some contractors are involved in far more accidents than others, regardless of how many routes they drive. In 2012, the city contracted with more than 50 private bus companies and recently opened the competitive bidding process that could bring in more companies for upcoming years. There are currently more than 7,000 bus routes in NYC.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are still the safest way to transport students to and from school. They are designed to protect passengers against injury and accidents with reinforced sides, high resistance to roof crushes, better mirror visibility and trained drivers. New York also provides seat belts in buses.

While statistics confirm that a student has less chance of being injured on the way to and from school on a school bus than in a car, these numbers are of little value if you or your child is hurt in a school bus accident. To find out how to recover your costs related to a school bus accident, contact the experienced New York school bus accident law firm of David Resnick & Associates, P.C., immediately.

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