FORT WORTH, TX (04/27/2015) — 31 students and 2 adults have been hospitalized after two Crowley ISD school buses crashed in Fort Worth on Monday afternoon.05/05/2015: The two drivers involved in this accident have now reportedly been terminated by their employer, Durham School Services.
At about 3:40 p.m., officials reported a bus accident near the intersection of Summer Creek Drive and Summer Park Drive in southwest Fort Worth. Both buses were fully loaded, carrying 70 seventh- and eighth-grade students from Summer Creek Middle School.
According to investigators, the driver of the 1st bus apparently stopped in a lane of traffic on Summer Creek Drive in order to “handle a situation on the school bus.” A passenger on that first bus has said that the driver “may have been dealing with rowdy students” at the time. The driver of a 2nd school bus reportedly crested a hill on Summer Creek Drive and saw the 1st bus stopped in the middle of the road, but was unable to stop in time and rear-ended the first bus.
31 students were reportedly injured in the crash, most with bumps, bruises, cuts and whiplash symptoms including back and neck pain. One 7th grader was reported as saying that “some got jerked out of their seats, some, their lips are bleeding because they hit on the seat hard.” The injured students were transported by ground ambulance to four area hospitals, with the majority going to Cook Children’s Medical Center and John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Both drivers were also injured and taken to area hospitals. As of Monday night, all students had been released from the hospital.
The company which owned and operated both buses, Durham Bus Services, had reportedly been inspected 5,521 by the U.S. Department of Transportation in the past two years. In that period of time, 1,399 violations were found and 328 bus crashes were reported.
Stopping a school bus in the middle of the roadway instead of pulling onto the shoulder seems, on its surface, to be an obvious act of negligence. Until a full investigation is performed though, I’d rather not speculate further on the issue of liability. One thing that I would like to talk about is the use of seat belts on school buses.
Every state requires seatbelts to be worn by all occupants, either as a driver or passenger. On top of that, it’s mandatory for infants and toddlers to ride in a specialized car seat. So why do school buses still allow children to travel on the same roads without any seat restraints?
You might be surprised to find that Texas DOES require seat belts on school buses. That’s right. The only problem is that school districts are only required to comply with this law IF the Texas Education Agency pays for, or commits to pay for the expenses incurred in complying with the law. Is the safety of our children really not worth the cost of seat belts?