A high school student was in critical condition after a Tennessee school bus accident injured 20. Authorities report the bus flipped three times on Mount Wesley Road in Washington County.
Knoxville personal injury lawyers understand autumn is the most dangerous time of year for school bus accidents. Bus drivers are new to the job or coming back after summer break. Motorists are often impatient when the slow, lumbering yellow buses reappear on our roads. Add to that the large number of children walking, riding bikes and taking the bus to and from school each day and the risks for accidents increase exponentially.
While most think the majority of busing accidents occur when traveling to and from school, the fact is a significant number of these accidents occur when a bus is traveling on a field trip, sporting event or other after-school activity.
In this case, the Tennessee Highway Patrol reports one of the bus' tires slipped off the narrow shoulder of the road.
CNN reports the bus was carrying 67 passengers at the time of the crash, which was caused by the driver overcorrecting. Accident victims were taken to Johnson Medical Center, Holston Valley Medical Center and Franklin Woods Community Hospital. Two underwent surgery and were expected to recover, according to hospital staff.
Twelve patients were hospitalized overnight. Neck injuries, scalp lacerations and broken bones were among the injuries reported.
The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security reports nearly 10,000 school buses a day hit the roads in Tennessee. Public school districts are responsible for bus safety. Bus drivers with a school-bus endorsement must undergo a mandatory 4-hour safety-training session and buses must undergo two types of inspections -- annual and follow-ups, which occur during the school year.
At the age of 12, buses must also undergo extended utilization inspections each summer. At age 17, a bus must be removed from service.
But the fact remains many school-bus accidents are pedestrian accidents that occur around a bus or near a bus stop -- either when a school bus or a passenger vehicle strikes a student. It's for this reason that Tennessee law requires all cars to stop for a bus displaying red flashing lights (unless traveling the opposite direction on the other side of a divided highway). This is your signal that the bus is loading or unloading passengers.
Motorists should remain vigilant in neighborhoods, especially during the early morning and afternoon hours. And parents should teach their child how to get to and from the bus stop safely. Clarksville Online reports children are most at risk of being hit when running to catch the bus.
Tennessee School Bus Safety Tips:
-Teach children to get to the bus stop on time and not to engage in horseplay. Students should wait at least 5 giant steps away from the curb.
-Teach your child to make eye contact with the bus driver and other motorists and make sure it's safe to cross.
-Children should be taught never to attempt to retrieve an item dropped beneath the bus; notify the bus driver.
-Parents who believe a bus stop is located in a dangerous place should be proactive in contacting their school district.
School bus accident in Washington County, Tennessee: 20 injured, no fatalities, published Sept. 20, 2012 - examiner.com.
Tennessee ATV Safety: Fatal Campbell County Accident Highlights Autumn Risks, Published by Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C., Sept. 14, 2012.