A recent bus crash in Gray Summit, Missouri has National Transportation Safety Board members looking at accident prevention and safety measures on the large school buses that millions of children ride to school, sporting events and other destinations every year. The devastating crash killed one 15-year-old student, as well as the driver of another vehicle.
The accident occurred when a semi-truck driver slowed down for construction work and was struck by a pickup truck. A large school bus, carrying high school students to an amusement park, rear-ended that accident and was following shortly by a second school bus. The accident left one bus pushed almost all the way to the top of the semi.
In addition to those killed in the bus crash, many students were undoubtedly left with bruises and cuts.
It seems strange that, while every state requires seatbelt use for children riding in personal vehicles, only six states require that school buses even come equipped with seatbelts.
New York is one of those states, and while each school district is given the authority to mandate seatbelt use, all New York school buses must be equipped with seatbelts. This rule applies to all buses built after July 1, 1987. (New York School Bus Seatbelt Law)
NTSB investigators are also looking into whether or not additional safety measures might have made the crash less likely, or flat-out prevented it. Some of the ideas being considered include an early warning system that would alert bus drivers to slowing traffic and an automatic brake that would kick in if the driver were too slow to respond.