School Bus Crash And Bus Accident Tips For Reporters

WATCH THE VIDEO: What Every Reporter Needs To Know About School Bus Safety and Tips On How To Cover A School Bus Crash or A Bus Accident from Vehicle Safety Lawyer Todd Tracy

Todd Tracy is a vehicle safety expert and is considered among the top bus accident lawyers in the nation.  Tracy runs a state of the art Crash Lab at The Tracy Law Firm’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas.  Tracy’s engineering studies have uncovered safety defects and unsafe school bus designs that cause traumatic injury and wrongful death in a school bus crash.

For decades, he has been an outspoken advocate of requiring school bus seat belts (lap and shoulder).

When children are involved in school bus accidents, the child is usually not protected by a three point restraint system (lap and shoulder belt) because the school bus doesn’t have that safety system in place.

In the event that a school bus is involved in a frontal impact the bus industry claims that the child should be protected under a doctrine called compartmentalization, which is keeping the area
around the child, in an energy buffing zone.

However, if the school bus is involved in a T bone accident also known as a broadside collision or a rollover accident, the child will be ejected from their seating position and compartmentalization will not help them at all.

NHTSA & Bus Manufacturers Mislead Parents About The Safety of School Buses

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and school bus manufacturers have been complicit in duping school districts, states and parents about school bus safety for years.  School buses will not protect our children in a serious accident because buses are not crashworthy and fail to utilize available and affordable occupant protection safety systems. The biggest safety issue is the failure of NHTSA to establish consistent safety standards for buses. As a result, when it comes to protecting occupants.

Injuries suffered by both our children and school personnel are vastly underreported.

Parents Must Buckle Up Their Children In The Family Car, But Not On A School Bus. How Much Sense Does That Make?

The crash of an elementary school bus in Chattanooga, Tennessee that caused death and traumatic injuries on November 21, 2016 underscored the urgent need to require some of the occupant protection systems that are taken for granted on family cars.  The risks to students in rollover school bus accidents was highlighted when an 18-wheeler truck side-swiped a Mount Pleasant, Texas school bus carrying the high school track team  injuring 18 students and three coaches at night on March 23, 2017. The truck which had swerved into oncoming traffic then struck a car traveling behind the bus and killed the coach of the girl’s track team.  The horrific scene inside both bus school buses at the time of the accidents likely resembles this actual crash footage of another rollover school bus crash.

Bus accident investigations usually focus on whether the bus driver or another motorist caused the accident, but the inquiry should also focus on what caused the injuries.  I have repeatedly called on school bus manufacturers and school districts to at a minimum install seat belts in school buses, (three point restraint systems of lap and shoulder belts).

Crash tests conducted by IMMI, the manufacturer of SafeGuard seats, dramatically demonstrates the catastrophic impact with and without lap-shoulder belts. IMMI also debunks numerous safety myths perpetuated by school bus manufacturers.

School Buses Are Not Crashworthy

The United States school bus system is among the largest mass transportation systems in the world. Yet most American school buses do not contain the following safety equipment:

  • Seat belts,
  • Window glass that can reduce the risk of a child being ejected,
  • Inadequate structural integrity to provide protection in frontal, side and rollover accident.
  • Fire protection

Sadly, vehicle crashworthiness principles have not been applied to school buses as vigorously as they have to aircraft, race cars or passenger cars and trucks.  Why you ask?  For years, school bus safety has been compromised due to under-reported injury and fatality statistics, manipulation of test data and frivolous claims about the safety of school buses.

School bus manufacturers are self-proclaimed experts on bus safety. As such they should also be held responsible for traumatic injuries and deaths to children on school  buses just as auto manufacturers are held accountable for occupant protection in passenger vehicles.

Parents, school administrators and elected officials should demand school bus crashworthiness. Otherwise our most precious cargo will continue to die and suffer life crippling injuries in the prime of their life.

School Bus Safety Information For Reporters

School Bus Safety In America By School Bus Lawyer Todd Tracy

If you are a reporter on deadline and need help on how to discover safety failures in a bus accident, feel free to contact my office at 214-324-9000 or use this contact form.

For more facts to assist your reporting Download and Share my report School Bus Safety In America.






Video Transcript:

So many times reporters when they’re tasked with a investigating and reporting on a school bus they focus solely on who caused the accident? Who caused that bus accident? You know was it a sleepy driver? Was it someone not paying attention? Was it someone texting and driving? But there’s a bigger story than that, and that is, how did the safety systems inside the school bus, or inside the motor coach, or inside the mid-size bus perform. So much of the time we focus on just what is obvious.

However, reporters need to focus on the bus itself. Did the bus provide the necessary safety systems in place? Did the bus have seatbelts? If the bus provided seatbelts were they lap belt only? Were they lap and shoulder belt? Were they accessible? Did the bus contain ejection mitigation glass? Did the bus comply with what is known as compartmentalization? So much of the time we focus solely on who caused it rather than– who caused the accident rather than, who caused the injuries.

That’s why when a reporter gets called out to a scene and a tragedy has happened with a bus of any kind, its incumbent upon the reporter to ask the necessary questions. To ask the tough questions and if they need to contact an expert, feel free to call someone. If anyone would like to call me, I have handled a number of different types of bus cases and I would welcome the opportunity to assist you with evaluating, how did the bus protect the occupants inside the vehicle?

If you are a reporter on deadline and need help on how to discover safety failures in a bus accident, feel free to contact my office at 214-324-9000 or use this contact form.

For more facts to assist your reporting download my School Bus Safety Report:

School Bus Safety In America by Bus Accident Lawyer Todd Tracy

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