Two schools. Two buses. Two accidents. Eleven students transported to hospitals with injuries and complaints of pain.
Monday morning, December 12, 2011, was a dangerous time for teenagers across Hampton Roads, Virginia (VA), as buses crashed in school zones at Hickory Middle School in Chesapeake, VA, and at Bethel High School in Hampton, VA. The Hickory bus went into a ditch on the access road for the school, Hawk Boulevard, and the Bethel bus hit six other vehicles in the high school's parking lot. A person in one of those vehicles also went to a hospital to get examined for injuries.
Fortunately, none of the reported or suspected injuries appear serious. More troubling, though, is that the bus drivers apparently caused both of the wrecks. WAVY-TV 10 reported that the Hickory Middle bus driver overcorrected after clipping a concrete shoulder. In Hampton, the Bethel bus driver has been charged with reckless driving, according to the Daily Press.
Full details on the causes of the crashes are not yet available. But if completed investigations show that the bus drivers were at fault for the accidents, that would represent huge breaches of trust by the drivers and the school systems. Parents and students must be able to trust that bus operators wil do their essential jobs of transporting children safely as near to perfect as possible. Any time a bus wrecks due to a driver's negligence, fatigue or, worst of all, drunkenness, seeds of doubt are planted about how safe school buses are.