It began as any other Tuesday. Students in the quiet city of Torrington, Connecticut said goodbye to their parents, grabbed their lunchboxes, and boarded their school bus. The young students were on their way to Torringford Elementary School when their day took a scary turn. Two school buses were involved in what is being called a “multicar chain-reaction” accident. Twenty-two children were taken to the hospital with minor injuries as a result of the crash; adults in other vehicles were hospitalized as well.
The accident is believed to have occurred at 3:45pm on Tuesday when a man in a pickup truck rear-ended a Jeep, which was pushed into the back of a Kindercare bus, which in turn hit a larger school bus carrying children on their way to elementary school. A Volvo in another lane was also involved in the wreck. All five vehicles sustained extensive damage, with the Jeep coming to rest precariously teetering on a metal guardrail.
Photos of the scene reveal the female driver of the Jeep Grand Cherokee was airlifted to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries. Her condition is not known at this time. Six adults were injured and were treated either at the scene or in the hospital. Charlotte Hungerford Hospital spokesman Jim Lebouthiller said the 22 children on the buses were treated and released in addition to seven adults, all with non-life-threatening injuries.
“When we hit the bus it hit my face and then the airbags hit my face again, so it was like a double impact. It was scary,” Desmond Langs, who was inside the Volvo SUV, told NBC Connecticut.
Incidents like this are the main push behind a recent undercurrent of support for new laws requiring seatbelts to be worn on school buses. Today, some school buses are equipped with safety belts, but they are largely disregarded as kids move freely about the bus. There is often little supervision on the vehicles that can hold as many as 50 kids, and the driver can only do so much when watching the road.
However, many bus drivers are concerned that seatbelts may actually put students at risk. According to the National Education Association:
• Students can and do use the heavy belt buckles as weapons, injuring other riders.
• It is next to impossible to make sure that all students keep their belts properly fastened, so that they are not injured by the belts in an accident.
• If a bus has to be evacuated in an emergency, such as a fire, panicked or disoriented students might be trapped by their belts.
(Source: NEA Website)
It is a difficult decision for lawmakers who must weigh all options to put the health and safety of children above all else. Each day, parents watch their wave a quick goodbye and head out the door and onto a school bus, expecting that they will arrive at school and return home safety in the afternoon. Getting the phone call that their child has been injured or worse is a parent’s worst nightmare. Parents are put in the terrible position of shouldering the grief while the medical bills and other financial responsibilities add up. At the law offices of Altman & Altman, LLP our team of seasoned Car Accident and Bus Accident Attorneys have nearly 5 decades of experience handling all types of personal injury cases, including those involving children. It may seem overwhelming to go up against a big bus company, but with the assistance of our attorneys, victims can receive compensation for their lost wages, medical expenses, and damages. One of our senior associates will answer any questions or reservations you might have, and will remain with you throughout the entire process.
For full original article from NBC Connecticut click here