Three Indianapolis School Bus Crashes This Morning: Safety Issues for School Buses — Should There Be Seat Belts?

Three Indianapolis School Bus Crashes This Morning: Safety Issues for School Buses — Should There Be Seat Belts?

Shocking news today as there have been three separate school bus crashes in Indianapolis, however only one of the three bus crashes resulted in anyone being hurt. All three school buses were operated by the Indianpolis Public Schools and all three happened within two hours of each other this morning.

Police reports are that four kids were taken to a local hospital after being involved in an Indianapolis school bus crash that happened around eight o’clock this morning.    They were the only passengers on the school bus that was headed for a local elementary school when the school bus was rear-ended by a car.

No one was injured in the other two school bus accidents, where luckily one bus from Pike Township only carried two children as passengers at the time that it crashed into a car (7:20am). That car caught fire after the crash; however, no one was hospitalized after this accident. No details as yet on the third IPS bus crash which was the last crash of the day (8:40 am).

Safety Issues for School Buses

School buses and other buses that carry children (e.g., camp buses, church buses, etc.) should carry insurance to cover any injuries that may occur in a school bus crash.  In fact, less than a year ago Governor Quinn of Illinois signed into law additional protections for kids that clarify the requirements for liability insurance coverage of buses that carry children in that state.

There is good reason for this:  there are times when school bus accidents are much more serious than the three that happened this morning.  It is almost one year to the day that another school bus crash resulted in the death of Donasty Smith, 5, when the Lighthouse Charter School bus she rode crashed into a pillar last March 12. Her parents later sued for her wrongful death, bringing into question the safety of school buses in this area.

Only six states require seat belts for school buses: California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.  Other states rely upon a concept approved by the federal agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), referred to as “compartmentalization” which suggests that the size of the school bus together with how the seats are fitted into the bus itself act to provide adequate safety for children without the need for seat belts.

It is true that the percentages of deaths caused by school bus crashes are low.  However, whenever news arrives that kids have been hurt in a bus crash those overall national statistics go out the window.  Kids deserve to be safe and school districts must be responsible for making sure that children are safe by providing the safest vehicle possible as well as skilled and reputable drivers.

Image:  School bus, public domain, Wikimedia Commons.

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