A number of school bus students were rushed to the hospital this week following two separate Maryland motor vehicle accidents involving school transportation vehicles on Wednesday. An elementary school bus and a pickup truck collided in St. Mary’s County when the bus turned in front of an oncoming pickup truck and was struck.
Three of the students who were on the bus were taken to a local hospital, while the pickup truck driver, a Lusby man, was taken to Prince George’s Shock Trauma. Police say the bus driver failed to yield the right of way.
In another Maryland school bus accident, one man died in Garrett County after his vehicle was involved in an auto crash with a school bus. For reasons that are still not clear, the Ford pickup truck of 63-year-old Robert Charles Biers crossed the center line to collide with the bus. All 23 passengers on the bus were taken to Garrett Memorial Hospital so they could be examined for possible injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
• There have been 1,389 school transportation-related crashes between 1997 and 2007.
• 1,541 people died in those crashes, which averages to about 140 school transportation-related deaths each year.
• 73% of the people who died were riding in the other vehicles.
• 7% of the those who died were riding in the school transportation vehicles.
• 20% of the people who died were pedalcyclists, pedestrians, and others who weren’t riding in any vehicles when the deadly motor vehicle crashes happened.
• 152 pedestrians younger than age 19 have died in school transportation-related collisions.
School buses are common carrier vehicles which means that the bus driver owes its occupants and other motorists an even greater duty of care than do regular drivers. Many school buses still lack safety belts, which means bus accidents can result in serious injuries—especially for young occupants.