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Two Crashes Highlight Importance of School Bus Safety

Recently, our blog discussed how the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in full force when school starts in a few weeks, looking to issue costly citations to those motorists who fail to abide by the state’s vehicle traffic laws. For instance, those drivers caught speeding in a school zone can face a $500 ticket while those caught passing a stopped school bus picking up or unloading students can face a $1,000 ticket.

Some will undoubtedly question the need for these enforcement efforts. However, consider that there have been at least two school bus accidents in Tennessee over the last week alone. While neither crash resulted in any serious injuries, they nevertheless serve to reinforce the need for all motorists — including school bus drivers themselves — to drive slowly and carefully.

The first accident occurred last Thursday in Henderson, where a school bus carrying 42 students was involved in a crash with a logging truck. While law enforcement officials are still investigating the incident, preliminary reports indicate that the school bus driver may have tried to negotiate a left turn too quickly.

Regardless of the circumstances, the bus accident left many parents understandably angry as this apparently was not the first time that this particular bus driver was involved in a crash.

“We’ve had multiple instances with this driver,” said one parent. “He’s not a safe driver. I’m against my children riding this bus at any cost.”

The second accident occurred this past Tuesday in Jackson, where a driver somehow managed to crash into a stopped school bus during the early morning hours. Fortunately, no children were on the bus at the time of the accident. However, both the bus driver and the driver of the car had to be taken to an area hospital for treatment for minor injuries.

“We always have somebody who thinks the law does not apply to them, but it does for everyone,” said a local school official.

All drivers must remember to be extra cautious in the mornings and afternoons over the coming weeks, as school bus routes will be starting up again and there will be more slower-moving traffic on the roads.

Source: WBBJ, “Kids Uninjured in School Bus Wreck,” Joe Sullivan, August 13, 2013; WBBJ, “School bus crash leaves parents upset,” Ben Rainwater, August 8, 2013

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