In October 20220, a fatal school bus crash happened involving a service utility truck in Tennessee. Let’s explore the details of the incident with Ehline Law and their school bus accident-injury attorneys.
Utility Truck and School Bus Involved in Fatal Accident in Decatur
On October 27, 2022, a utility truck driver was looking in his rearview mirror when the truck’s right wheels drifted off the roadway. When the driver realized half of his truck was not on the roadway, he steered back into the road, causing his vehicle to enter the opposite lane. A school bus was coming on that lane, and even though the approaching school bus driver braked, it wasn’t enough to stop the vehicles from colliding.
Fatal Bus Crash Results in Two Dead and 14 Injured
The Tennessee Highway Patrol reported two deaths, the school bus driver and a 7-year-old student. Four students suffered serious injuries, and 10 others sustained minor injuries from the accident.
Onboard Camera Footage Gives Valuable Insight into the Accident
The cameras aboard the bus gave the investigative team footage of the seating positions and other valuable information. According to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the passengers were not properly seated during the crash, increasing the risk of injuries.
Investigations also revealed that if the school bus had lap and shoulder belts, it would’ve reduced the injuries’ severity.
NTSB Makes Recommendation to Help Reduce Injuries in School Bus Accidents
In light of the 2020 Tennessee school bus crash, the NTSB recommended the following measures to increase school bus safety for students:
- Equipping new vehicles with lane departure prevention systems
- Install lap and shoulder belts in new large school buses
- Large buses over 10,000 pounds to have onboard video event recorders.
The NTSB issued recommendations to National School Transportation Association, National Association for Pupil Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and other relevant organizations.
Although buses have lane departure warning systems, according to NTSB project manager Meg Sweeney, it would’ve not prevented the accident, which is why there is a need for lane departure prevention systems.
Sweeney also mentioned that the designated employees in the abovementioned organizations must periodically review onboard video camera footage to keep a check on the students and ensure safe transportation behaviors and enhance bus safety training.
Following the devastating Decatur accident, the state established a $3 million grant fund to which school districts can apply to purchase school buses with seat belts. Although NTSB reiterates the call for seatbelts after the fatal school bus crash, it is not necessary that the school districts follow these recommendations. Another critical thing to note is that the accident occurred because of the negligent truck driver. Fortunately, injured victims can recover compensation if they suffer injuries in an accident due to another’s negligence. If you suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, seek out a free consultation, as you may be eligible for compensation.