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| Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A six year old girl was killed in a Jan. 28 school bus crash in Georgia.

The girl died in the crash in Houston County, Georgia when the bus was going down hill and the driver tried to make a 90 degree left turn at too high a speed. In addition to the driver and students, a bus monitor was on bard. The bus driver was not able to negotiate the turn safely and it flipped on its side. The vehicle slid 30 feet after it turned on its side.

bus accident

The state Motor Carrier Compliance Division is investigating the cause of the wreck. It is unknown at this time if speed was a factor, or if there was a mechanical failure.

Five others, including the driver, were treated for minor injuries.

Our View

There are not a high number of fatal school bus accidents in the US, but when they occur, it is a tragic loss. Our Virginia personal injury attorneys send condolences to the family of the deceased gir in this Georgia bus crash.

As with other motor vehicle accidents, there are several common causes for these tragic events. First, driver fatigue is the cause of all types of auto accidents. Any fatigued driver is more likely to be in an auto accident. A 2009 study done by CDC found that many drivers admitted that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel in the previous 30 days.

The results were largely dependent upon the driver’s age; CDC found that 7.2% of drivers from 25 to 35 admitted they had fallen asleep while driving, and 4.5% of those 18 to 25 had done so.

To fight sleepy drivers, some school districts have installed fatigue warning devices in their vehicles. These high tech devices monitor the eye closure rate of the driver. If the device sees an unsafe pattern, an alarm will go off. But not all school districts are willing to spend the money on such devices.

Of course, speeding is a common cause of bus accidents. Bus drivers are under pressure to get to and from school on time. Because they are so much bigger and heavier, buses take longer to stop, and need to go slower around turns.

A possible solution is to put a speed governor on school buses that will limit the level of fuel to the engine once it gets to a certain speed. But many school districts, again, do not want to spend the money on these tools.

Whatever the cause of the bus accident, the family of a deceased person or child could be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. This will not bring back the lost, but it can bring a sense of closure to a tragic situation.

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