Fewer images will strike fear into a parent’s heart, than that of a school bus rolled over on its side. Wednesday evening the Rockford school district was still trying to figure out why that exact scene played out on Rockford's west side.
It happened Wednesday morning in front of the Lowe’s distribution center. Luckily it was at the beginning of the buses route and only two kids were on board. The students and driver suffered minor injuries. The driver, Pamela Hartje - a ten year employee of the school district - has been taken off her route until drug and alcohol test results are cleared. The cause of the accident is still unknown.
You see buses on the road every morning and every afternoon, but rarely do you see them next to the road laying on there side. These are the times you might wonder how kids can stay safe when they are not strapped in. Brian Murphy is part of the Winnebago County Safe Kids program.
“Seat belts are certainly a good idea in most vehicles but in a bus there are a lot of issue they would have to address through the use of booster seats and car seats.”
Every child is a different size from a 40lb first grader, to a 240lb senior. Poorly fitting seat belts could have made the most recent accident even worse. Greg Wilson in the director of transportation for the Rockford School District.
“This is a case where the young lady if she would have had a seat belt she would have been hanging more than 6 feet in the air where she could have injured her internal organs at that point.”
The seats are put uncomfortably close for a reason, to absorb shock. And the top of the bus is curved so kids slide with less force than being thrown directly into the ceiling. Millions of kids travel on buses with these features every day, on average five kids lose their lives a year in school buses in the united states. Overall that is a much safer track record than the personal vehicle.