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Are Ads on School Buses Distracting to Drivers?

Thousands of families across the Commonwealth worry about their children’s safety on school busses.  Is there a school bus able to safely get them to and from school each day?  Are the other drivers on the road driving responsibly?  Will their child’s school have enough funding to continue valuable programs? A recent proposal presented to the Worcester School Committee may combine all three of those worries.

One School Committee member proposed the idea of placing black-and-white advertisements on the side of buses used by Worcester Public School District.  The proceeds collected from the sale of the advertisement space would benefit the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, which provides “mini-grants” allowing teachers and students pay for items such as field trips and classroom technology.  However, opponents of this proposal have noted that these bus advertisements may distract other drivers, causing potential harm to students when the bus is moving or when boarding or getting off the bus.

What is the right thing to do?  We haven’t analyzed Worcester’s school budget, but what if it’s really necessary?  What will the people of Worcester decide.

Distracted Driving in Massachusetts

We have discussed texting and driving and use of electronic devices at length in other blog posts.  But cell phones and video GPS monitors are not the only forms of distraction drivers face on a daily basis.  There are three main types of distractions that affect driving: manual, cognitive, and visual.  Manual distractions are those that take the driver’s hands off the wheel, such as reaching for a water bottle in the cup holder.  Cognitive distractions are those that take the driver’s mind away from the task at hand, such as talking to a passenger, focusing on the radio, or thinking about a big project at work.  Finally, visual distractions take the driver’s eyes off the road, such as noticing a particular advertisement.  There were a total of 108,379 car accidents in Massachusetts in 2012 – how many of those were caused by non-electronic distractions?

What Can You Do About Distracted Driving?

The good news is that you can do your part to prevent accidents caused by distracted driving.  As the law demands, never text and drive.  In addition, pull over to complete any action that would keep your attention from the road, such as checking directions, adjusting hair or makeup, or consoling a crying child in the back seat.

There are, unfortunately, aspects of safe driving that make avoiding distraction more difficult.  Digital billboards are constantly rotating through ads.  These commercial distractions may cause a driver to not notice the brake lights on the vehicle ahead of him. This is exactly what concerns opponents of the Worcester School Committee proposal.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one is a victim of a distracted driving accident, you may be entitled to damages including reimbursement of medical bills, pain and suffering, and a loss of consortium claim brought by a spouse.

Contact Boston Attorney Neil Burns, who has been representing car accident clients for almost 30 years, passionately and aggressively working to get clients the damages they deserve.  The initial consultation is always free and there is no cost to you until your case is won!