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What’s the law for a school bus accident in Michigan?

School buses transporting our most precious cargo are exempt from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Rules that govern all other commercial trucks and buses

Each year, school buses provide an estimated 10 billion student trips in the United States. Every school day, 475,000 school buses transport 25 million children to and from schools and school-related activities.

Children are our most precious cargo. Yet they’re not protected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rules (FMCSRs) — that govern all other commercial motor vehicles and buses in the U.S. — when riding the school bus. School buses are in fact, exempt from these important safety rules.

This is just one reason why it’s important to hire an experienced bus accident lawyer, as attorneys who mistakenly litigate a school bus injury case by the same rules as a commercial motor vehicle crash put their clients’ lawsuits in great jeopardy. In addition, experienced bus accident lawyers can highlight the glaring safety issues that occur because they’re not covered by the federal rules.

For example, here are the FMCSA safety regulations that school bus drivers are exempt from:

  • Driver qualification (including physical qualification and medical certification) regulations.
  • Hours-of-service regulations.
  • Vehicle maintenance and repair rules.
  • Bus inspection program requirements.
  • Vehicle operation regulations.
  • Insurance and registration regulations.

Except for a couple of limited exceptions, such as when a school bus provides “for-hire” transportation on an out-of-state field trip, these are the only two FMCSA safety regulations that apply to people whom we’ve entrusted to safely transport our children:

  • School bus drivers must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). (49 CFR Part 383)
  • School bus drivers must comply with the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing requirements. (49 CFR Part 382)

Whatever the reason, our attorneys fail to see why the people whom we entrust to safely transport our children are exempt from many of the federal safety regulations that we think are important enough to apply to commercial bus and truck drivers transporting less “precious cargo,” such as the lifeless, inanimate product that will stock the shelves of our local grocery store and shopping malls.

Here’s an explanation on school bus guidelines from the FMCSA.

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