FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-02-22
A deadly school bus collision took the life of an 11-year-old girl and seriously injured 17 others, including both drivers. The girl who was fatally injured when a dump truck collided with the school bus in New Jersey was a triplet and her two sisters were both critically injured in the collision.
It’s unclear what caused the crash at the intersection of Bordentown-Chesterfield and Old York roads in Chesterfield Township. The intersection has been the site of 15 accidents since 2007. The Huffington Post reported than another minor accident occurred the day after the fatal school bus-truck collision Thursday.
Burlington County borders the Philadelphia metro area. This catastrophic accident highlights the dangers any time a large vehicle is involved in a crash with a smaller vehicle. In this case, the school bus was no match for the heavy dump truck.
Law enforcement officers are not commenting on whether charges will be filed in the fatal accident, saying that further review is needed before they make recommendations and assessments regarding the cause of the crash.
NTSB Investigation of the Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials arrived at the scene of the fatal collision Friday. The NTSB sent investigators and crash reconstructionists to collect evidence related to the crash. The board’s review could take upwards of 12 to 16 months.
The NTSB said the review of the school bus collision is especially important because New Jersey is one of few states that require students to wear safety belt restraints. The NTSB selected this particular accident to investigate to determine whether children injured in the crash were wearing their seat belts and whether the belts played any role in their safety during the collision.
It’s likely that Pennsylvania safety advocates will watch closely for the NTSB’s evaluation of the fatal crash. If the NTSB continues to recommend seat belts in school buses, Pennsylvania legislators may take the opportunity to follow New Jersey and make the use of safety restraints mandatory.
School Buses Are Still the Safest Mode of School Transportation
Statistics related to crashes of school buses and other modes of school transportation show that riding a school bus is still the safest way to travel to school. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that only .34 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents since 2000 involved fatalities on school-related transportation.
Students who walk to school face a much higher risk than students who take the bus. Between 2000 and 2009, 130 children were killed while walking, whereas only 57 children were fatally injured aboard a school bus.
That doesn’t mean, however, that children riding Pennsylvania school buses don’t face risks. It’s important to talk to your child about the importance of wearing a seat belt when available, sitting while the bus is in motion and limiting noise and distractions for the driver.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed while riding aboard a Pennsylvania bus or walking to school, it’s important to speak to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.