Officials with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office say that 11 children were hospitalized following a serious school bus accident earlier this month. The wreck happened just after 4 p.m. as the bus was making its afternoon drop-offs.
Police say that the bus wreck took place on U.S. 61 near Poplar Hill Road in Jefferson County, MS. Witnesses say that the school bus was hit by a pickup truck, which led to a variety of injuries. Nine students from Jefferson County Elementary School were on the bus at the time of the crash as were two students from Jefferson County High School. All eleven students, the driver of the school bus and the driver of the truck were taken to either Jefferson County Hospital or UMMC for treatment.
Emergency responders say that they were afraid the accident might have turned out even worse given that the force of the crash sparked a fire on the bus. Thankfully police officers were able to get all the children off the bus before the fire spread. Officials with the Mississippi Highway Patrol now say that the accident is under investigation.
Though accidents like this one are scary for parents and students alike, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that school buses remain the safest mode of transportation for children to and from school. In fact, statistics reveal that students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take a bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends.
The NHTSA says that school buses are even safer than when a child rides with a parent. Figures show that 58 percent of student fatalities during normal school travel hours involve students driven by other teens while 23 percent involve students driven by adults, including parents. Only 1 percent of all student fatalities occur among students traveling by bus.
It’s clear that buses are generally safe, but even safe modes of transportation can present dangers on occasion. As the recent accident indicates, the safety of a school bus or its driver cannot prevent other motorists from making mistakes and causing accidents. It’s for this reason that some safety advocates have campaigned for school buses to come equipped with seat belts, an important safety feature that has been proven to save lives.
Even though buses are already safe, these experts explain that they could be made safer by installing seat belts. Seat belts would be especially useful in side impact and rollover collisions where students have been known to be ejected from the bus, causing severe and sometimes fatal injuries. Unfortunately, neither federal nor state officials appear to be motivated to implement such a change as bus manufacturers have actively campaigned against the possibility, citing increased costs as a serious downside.
If you have been injured in a Mississippi car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at 601-707-4669.
Source: “11 children injured in Jefferson Co. school bus accident,” published at ClarionLedger.com.
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