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School Bus Versus Car Accident Injures Four Children

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Four students were injured in a school bus versus car accident in Concow, according to a Chico Enterprise Record article. The accident occurred the afternoon of January 6, 2008 when a bus full of kindergarten through eighth grade students from Spring Valley and Concow schools were traveling home northbound on Concow Road. The bus was struck by a red Honda Civic driven by 22-year-old Guy Beauregard Chancellor.

Chancellor apparently lost control of his vehicle while trying to maneuver a curve on the wet and sandy roadway, crossed into the northbound lane from the southbound lane striking the front left section of the school bus. The impact of the crash coupled with the driver’s attempt to avoid the collision by braking, sent many of the children lurching forward in the bus, which did not have seatbelts. California Highway Patrol officials said four children complained of dizziness after hitting the seat in front of them with their heads. Two children were taken to the hospital, but officials say none suffered major injuries.

I’m extremely relived for all the students and their parents that this was not a major accident. I wish the four injured children a speedy physical and emotional recovery from what must have been a traumatic school bus accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 1996 and 2006, 96 crashes occurred in which at least one occupant of a school bus died. More than 50 percent of those crashes involved another vehicle. In the 41 single-vehicle crashes, 48 occupants, 14 drivers and 32 passengers died. In the 53 percent of all crashes involving fatalities to occupants of school bus, the principal point of impact was the front of the vehicle.

There has been a long debate about seatbelts in school buses. I believe safety restraints are absolutely necessary for the safety of our children. It is about time federal officials updated their studies and required seatbelts on all school buses. Had the children remained buckled up in this accident, it may not even have caused the head bumps that some of them suffered in this accident. Officials have argued that the seats are designed in a way that children will not get thrown around the vehicle in the event of a crash. But school bus crashes around the country have consistently shown that those arguments are false. Our children continue to be killed and injured in these crashes.

I would encourage the parents of the children injured in this crash to have their children checked out with their respective doctors to make sure there were no serious head injuries or concussions as a result of this crash.

I would also be curious to find out how the driver of the car, Chancellor, lost control and slid across the lanes. Was there a dangerous condition on the roadway? Was there a mechanical defect or malfunction in his Honda Civic? Or was he driving at an excessive rate of speed? I hope traffic investigators looking into this accident will soon provide full details of its cause and identify any and all negligent parties.

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