School bus crashes are among the most troubling kind of accidents to read about, even for Illinois readers who are not parents. Perhaps the reason is evolutionary, attributable to a shared instinct among adults to protect younger generations. Perhaps especially young school children are more easily seen as defenseless, or potential victims. Whatever the reason, almost no one wants tragedy to befall children whose futures are still ahead of them.
These common reactions make the account of a recent school bus accident on Illinois’ Highway 173 very troubling. The crash happened at an intersection. Authorities believe the bus driver may have run a red light, putting the bus in the path of two SUVs. However, witness testimony on that issue is conflicted. The bus driver was required to submit to a drug and alcohol screen after the crash, although alcohol is not believed be a factor in the accident.
The impact killed one of the SUV drivers and knocked the bus over. The bus landed on the driver’s side. Fortunately, none of the children on board the bus sustained life threatening injures, although many had slight injuries. Officials believe the children may have been shielded from the impact of the crash by the high seatbacks.
Illinois parents who entrust school bus drivers with their children have safety expectations. In addition to bus drivers being properly certified and current in applicable licensure requirements, many parents also believe that drivers of buses should be subject to periodic evaluations by their school district employers. Many Illinois readers would also likely agree that when it comes to the safety of school children, such expectations are reasonable — and that any breach of them might constitute negligence.
Source: chicagotribune.com, “Police investigate whether school bus driver ran red light,” Bridget Doyle, Carlos Sadovi and Gregory Trotter, April 6, 2013