Rash of School Bus Crashes Prompts Law Enforcement Call For Driver Safety

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The rash of recent incidents involving drivers and school buses prompted a public reminder this morning from law enforcement and school representatives about safety.

There have been at least 6 accidents in Hamilton County involving school buses since the school year began just under a month ago.

They were:

A bus hit a power pole on Signal Mountain on August 16th.

A rear end collision with a bus with no injuries.

A bus transporting Soddy-Daisy students was hit by a passing truck.

A rear end hit and run from Wednesday morning.

A bus wheel went into a ditch, one child was taken to the hospital

A head on collision Friday, August 23rd, and 13 students were taken to the hospital.

Chattanooga motorists keep crashing into these big yellow school buses. Law enforcement personnel, like Lt. Daniel Jones, think there’s one key reason.

“Here’s the issue that we have at the Chattanooga Police Department, we – the issue is, is that we have a lot of people that are not paying attention to the road. Whether that’s through a cell phone, whether it’s them eating, whether it’s them just watching different traffic crashes that have already happened or seeing something that’s not necessarily in the roadway, the problem that we’re having with folks out on the roadways right now is: they’re not paying attention to the road, which is what they should be doing,” said Lt. Daniel Jones, the Special Operations Commander for the Chattanooga Police Department.

Lt. John Harmon of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, emphasizes drivers need to slow down around the school buses.

“Whether it has its red lights on, or caution lights on or not, we should be driving safely around those buses,” said Lt. John Harmon, with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

And Anita Brown, Senior Location Manager with 1st Student, says that the 186 new buses in the fleet this year, have lots of safety equipment.

“BEEP – BEEP – BEEP! Child Check-mate is now deactivated.”

“Cameras, lights, wig-wag lights – so we’re very proud of the air conditioned buses that we brought in,” said Anita Brown, with 1st Student.

But none of those safety features can overcome drivers so distracted that they fail to notice the bus, or adhere to the flashing stop sign when it’s deployed.

“Not stopping for the stop sign when it’s out, is a huge issue for us, you can’t see when the kids are about to cross the road, and as the driver is trying to watch the child, you know it’s hard to watch for the car that’s coming as well,” said Ms. Brown.

Categories: Chattanooga, Education, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News

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