Investigators are trying to find out what caused a deadly Idaho bus crash that claimed the life of one 11-year-old child and hurt four others. The catastrophic incident happened on Thursday when the bus and a dump truck collided on a two-lane country road in a rural area. ABC News says that the vehicle was transporting 12 kids to Crimson Point Elementary School in the morning. The children were sixth graders or younger.
State police are not yet sure who or what was at fault. However, Cpl. Timothy Davidson says that because a death was involved a criminal charge could be likely. Already, officers have conducted acceleration test using a similar bus to try to figure out what happened. They do not think speed, road conditions, or weather conditions were factors.
Investigators say that the collision happened at a four-way intersection where the speed limit was 50 mph. While the truck, which was headed north, was on a road that did not have a stop sign, the bus, which was going east, was on a road that did.
Daniel Robert Cook, the boy who died, sustained blunt force trauma in the collision. The four kids who were hurt were taken to the hospital after the bus crash. While two were released after they were treated, two others were taken to another facility so they could receive specialized care. Details of their injuries have not been released.
The bus seems to have experienced the most damage to its rear right section. Its metal exterior there was torn and its windows broken. Meantime, the truck’s front section came off during impact. Per a routine inspection, the bus didn’t appear to have any maintenance issues. However, the truck had a number of equipment violations.
If the Idaho bus accident happened because one of the drivers was negligent, the victims’ families may have reason to pursue personal injury claims against the bus company, the school, the school district, the truck driver, the trucking company, or others deemed responsible. If a school bus defect or truck defect played a part in the collision, there may be reason to pursue an auto products liability caseagainst the vehicle manufacturer, seller, distributor, or others.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2009 Data report, which was revised in 2011, since 2000, there have been 1,245 fatal school transportation-related collisions in the US involving school buses and non-buses used as school buses (that’s .34% of the 371,104 deadly auto crashes that occurred during this time). These collisions have resulted in 1,386 deaths, with school transportation vehicle occupants comprising 8% of the fatalities. 130 school-age pedestrians under 19 have died in these crashes—56 of them kids, ages 5 to 7. Meantime, over 17,000 school kids are injured in school bus accidents each year.
Common causes of school bus crashes:
- Brake deficiencies
- Inadequate mirrors
- Faulty seatbacks
- Tire problems
- Overloaded buses
- Reckless driving
- Inadequate driver training
- Driver inexperience
- Driver inattention/distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Poor road conditions
- Poor weather
- School bus manufacturing defects
- Faulty bus design
- Steering problems
- Poor maintenance
- Negligence of the other driver
School buses typically don’t provide seatbelts, which means that in the event of the crash, its occupants can get thrown, placing them at risk of serious injuries, including head trauma, traumatic brain injury, and death.
At the Gilbert Law Group, our bus injury lawyers represent the families of children injured in school bus crashes. Our child injury attorneys and auto defects lawyers work with clients throughout the US.