School Bus Crash Ignites Seatbelt Debate – Your School Bus Lawyer

By William Bill Hurst

A bus driver and a student were killed on March 12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana and 10 other children were injured.  A school bus driver and a 5 year old student died this week in in a bus accident on the southeast side of Indianapolis.  Two other students were critically injured and several children were hurt.  The accident happened about 7:40 in the morning in the 900 block of S. Emerson near English Ave., two miles away from the Lighthouse Charter School where the bus was going.  The bus struck a railroad bridge abutment peeling back one side of the bus.

Speculation among the students and parent at the recent vigil on the cause of accident range from the bus driver being distracted by something to a sudden health problem such as Cardiac Arrest.  While the accident is currently under investigation, the cause is no known.

Indianapolis students that were injured in the bus collision were taken to Wishard Memorial Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children and all the children were released to their parents except for two critically injured who are still being treated at the hospital.  There were 50 children on the bus ranging in age from 5 to 16, and many of these students were trapped inside the bus after the accident for some period of time when in required extrication by the emergency rescue personnel.

Miller Transportation which owns the bus has hired experts including an accident reconstructionist to do an independent investigation.  There is a camera on the bus but apparently there were some problems in its operation.  Most of the kids all stated the the bus driver was very nice and well liked.

According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, bridges and tunnels such as the location involved in this accident are considered a hazard.  It has been recommended that School Districts and bus drivers take these hazards into account when planning bus routes.  The State Head of the Department of Education has indicated that a bridge like the one involved in Monday’s crash should be considered as dangerous.  It is clear that road hazards will be a hot topic at the State Transportation Conference this June, as well as this deadly bus crash.

In addition to the Indianapolis bus crash, there were at least two other bus accidents across the nation in a similar time frame, raising issues regarding bus safety.  Three hours after the Indianapolis bus crash, in Quincy Washington a school bus rolled over on its side with 38 students onboard.  The driver of this bus and three children were very seriously injured.  That same afternoon in rural Ohio a bus ran off the road and several students aboard suffered minor injuries that required medical attention.  All of these bus crashes in one day have many wondering if the seat belts should be required on buses.  Only six states currently require seat belts on school buses and it has been a long running debate in most state legislatures.  Some state officials, including Indiana, argue that equipping new buses and retrofitting older buses with seat belts would be too expensive; and that buses are generally safe anyway with the protection afforded by the “compartmentalization” of the seats seating and arrangements. 

If you or your child is injured in a bus collision or other tragedy in a motor vehicle accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.  You may contact our office or call William “Bill” Hurst at (800-)636-0808 for a free consultation.  You can also browse our personal injury website for more information at www.


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William W. Hurst

Bill Hurst has successfully represented hundreds of accident victims, and has limited his practice to personal injury cases for over thirty-five (35) years.

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