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A bus crashed on its way to a Houston high school this morning, tragically killing two of the students and seriously injuring the two other students and the driver who were onboard. The wreck occurred at 7:00 on a busy freeway while the bus was bound for an alternative school for drop-outs.
The crash was horrendous. One driver swerved into the lane of a second motorist who then side-swiped the bus. This caused the bus driver to overcorrect and drive the bus over the side of the overpass to the street below.
My heart goes out to the families of the young girls who perished and to the injured students and driver. But you have to ask how a tragedy like this could happen — and how it could be prevented from happening in the future.
Most Common Reasons People Crash Their Vehicles
The most common causes of automobile and truck collisions include
— Changing lanes
— Distracted driving, especially texting and talking on a cell phone
— Driving while intoxicated or impaired
The first two and possibly the third helped cause this catastrophe. Driving on our state’s highways has become nightmarish. Just here in Tarrant and Dallas Counties last year, there were over 70,000 collisions which took the lives of almost 400 people!
Was the Houston Bus Driver Qualified?
It is not clear at this point but, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there are a excessive number of unqualified drivers of commercial vehicles. The DPS issued almost 2,000 citations and issued over 21,000 warnings and had to take 212 drivers of tractor-trailers out of service just last year.
Why didn’t the Guardrail Stop the Bus?
Guardrails are supposed to absorb the impact of a crashing vehicle and divert its trajectory. They are particularly crucial along freeway overpasses and bridges in which the occupants of vehicles risk a fall like the one here. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials just announced on Friday that thousands of guardrails on our nation’s highways were made under old safety standards and do not meet our current safety standards.
Were Seat Belts Being Used?
The seven year-old bus was equipped with the newest safety features, including seat belts and seven security cameras. Investigators have not yet released wether the teens were wearing the seat belts at the time of the crash.
The cameras will help investigators determine what happened and hopefully lead to accident prevention and more effective safety measures in the future.