On September 21 at 3:50 p.m. a school bus was involved in a multiple-vehicle accident in La Plata, in Charles County, Maryland. The incident occurred on Hawthorne Road not long after the last bell rang at many area schools. After an initial investigation the Charles County Sheriff’s Office discovered that a driver of a Dodge Dakota crossed over the center line and struck a Ford truck and a Jeep in the east-bound lanes. The school bus was struck after the Jeep began to spin. The driver of the Dodge was a sixteen year old male who was flown to a hospital in Washington D.C. According to authorities there were three children on board the bus and neither the driver nor the students were seriously injured. The students were transported to Charles RegionalMedical Center as a precaution.
This incident is certainly not an isolated one. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, from 2003 until 2012 1,353 people have died as a result of school-transportation-related crashes across the country. This accounts for an average of 130 fatalities per year. About three-fourths of the lives lost belonged to occupants of non-school-related vehicles. The majority of school-aged pedestrians who have lost their lives to school transport vehicles have been injured during the busiest school-related commuting hours. This means that the most dangerous hours for school-age pedestrians are between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. or 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. These are also the most dangerous times for passengers of school transportation vehicles. Statistics show that the most dangerous “maneuver,” the move that leads to the majority of school buses fatally injuring pedestrians, is simply going straight. While there are more fatalities during these hours than any others this is likely due to the fact that the majority of school-related transportation occurs during these hours.
The fall season is a tough one for commuters. Not only are our days shorter and our roads darker, but fall brings a whole new group of commuters; students. During the summer, while many kids are staying at home or traveling at random times throughout the day, the roads are not quite as packed as they are come fall. It does not require much investigation to notice that the traffic jams are longer and slower once school season returns. School hours mean that high school students are driving on the roadways with the rest of the crowd, school buses are joining the mix throughout the day, and parents are rushing to and fro to ensure their kids are on time for class. Throughout the morning and afternoon rush to transport kids in accordance to their school schedules, things can get a bit hectic. Hectic traveling can quickly translate into dangerous traveling.