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January 31, 2012  |   Comments (13)   |   Post a comment

Safety audit launched after girl dragged by bus


DANSVILLE, N.Y. — An 8-year-old girl was dragged about 900 feet when her backpack got caught in a closing school bus door on Wednesday, according to state police.

The girl suffered abrasions and was taken to a local hospital.

Another passenger, an 8-year-old boy, was reportedly standing when the bus came to a halt after students yelled at the driver to stop. The boy struck the seat in front of him and sustained eye abrasions.

Police said the driver would not be charged.

After the incident, Dansville Central Schools Superintendent Paul Alioto said that the district had begun an investigation and that the driver was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. He noted that the driver has an eight-year record of safe driving with the district.

“While driver error is clearly suspect as the chief cause of the accident, we will also examine the possibility of equipment failure, review procedural safeguards and our safety training regimen,” Alioto said.

The girl and the children who witnessed the incident were to receive special attention from their teachers and from counselors on the following day.

“I’m proud of how our people came together around this crisis, but I join members of our school community in their deep concern over how something like this could have ever happened,” Alioto said. “We are very fortunate and very thankful that this brave little girl walked away from the accident.”

The superintendent also emphasized that school buses are the safety form of transportation for getting children to and from school, citing the American School Bus Council, the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

On Monday, the school district began a safety audit that is to continue throughout the week, examining transportation safety procedures, driver handbooks, training protocols and policies. Findings of the audit will be presented to the public in February.


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Brandy Browser was my cousin, naturally as a parent I'm very cautious when it comes to my kids boarding or exiting the school bus. The driver should not be driving away until they see the child reach a safe distance from the bus.

Michelle    |    May 30, 2013 06:36 PM

To:Harvey Boatman, Whose foot went off the brake and made the bus roll?

Twyla    |    Feb 03, 2012 06:41 AM

This is clearly driver error. In Ohio students are required to be in a designated safety zone before the bus moves after dropping them off. As a driver you are to count the students as they exit and then count them in the safety zone. People make mistakes, some more serious than others. Incidents like this just remind use how important it is to follow protocal every time. It is never a good idea to skimp on safety. I feel bad this happened to the girl and the driver. It is not the fault of the girls, the backpack, or the bus. It was a serious mistake the driver made.

Reuben    |    Feb 03, 2012 03:54 AM

My Grand daughter Zoie was dragged 250 feet in feb 2009 and the bus driver put her back on the bus and crying and called the bus garage and said no one was home so she would drop her off after finishing the bus run!!!! No charges and the bus driver in NY too (Minisink Valley) got to retire!!!! I love my camera's I had installed outside it proved what a lier this bus driver was... DOT did nothing the investigation did nothing!!! Im thanking god this little girl had a strong back pack like my grand daughter did too...Im glad zoie is still my perfect grand daughter!!!

Michelle E    |    Feb 02, 2012 07:12 AM

There is a reason that the area in a 12 foot area around the bus is called the Danger Zone.

Dave J    |    Feb 01, 2012 01:33 PM

No excuse at all why this happened. Sadly, I suspect it's one of those rushy-rushy drivers.

BL    |    Feb 01, 2012 09:01 AM

Where was the adult supervision at the stop? I wouldn't want my 8 year old left unsupervised.

Rosa    |    Feb 01, 2012 08:12 AM

In NY it is LAW the child HAS to be 15 FEET from the bus or the edge of the road BEFORE moving the bus AT ALL. I do not care if the driver was distracted or whatever. Before moving at least check to see where the child is before releasing the brake! Plain and simple the driver did not do the job and should be considered negligent. It does not matter weather it was a sub or a regular driver the procedure is the same. DISMISSED, End of story

Jack    |    Feb 01, 2012 04:35 AM

3 words----PLACE OF SAFETY. Check with Pete Japikse, for procedures used on Ohio school buses. A young girl named Brandy Browder was dragged and killed by her school bus more than 15 years ago when her drawstring was caught in the bus door in Beavercreek, Ohio. Since the incident, Ohio stressed to parents to cut off the extra length of strap on their child back packs and clothing, fixed the handle of the bus door so strings could not get caught and now we use driver designated place of safety, a safe spot where children stand so drivers can count them and students remain until the bus pulls away. Thank God the driver got the bus stopped before the little girls strap broke.

Beth    |    Feb 01, 2012 04:08 AM

1. Count your exiting students. 2. Close but don't latch door. 3. Count your outside students. This isn't always possible at a group stop. 4. Use mirrors as a lifeline to each student. 5. Require mirror view that is not obstructed by part of the bus. 6. Require heated outside mirrors to remove ice, snow, rain, and fog. 7. Remote adjustable mirrors should be standard equipment. A large team of individuals are required for SCHOOL BUS SAFETY

Dwight DSBSI LTD.    |    Jan 31, 2012 08:33 PM

The bottom line is that the DRIVER closed the door - which turns off the lights, and moved the bus Before he/she had accounted for the where-a-bouts of the dropped off passengers. This is exacting how my daughter and two other children in Rhode Island were killed by their school bus driver in 1985. In 1986 Rhode Island passed legislation that requires a second adult on all school buses grades 1 through 5 to act amoung other things as a crossing guard at each stop. This way the bus can not move until the aide gets back on the bus. There has not been a single school bus related death since 1985 and by 1990 other bus related injuries and bus accidents had been reduced by 65%

Bill Pendergast    |    Jan 31, 2012 07:02 PM

The biggest thing that matters is that this child is ALIVE! It does NOT matter if this is a substitute driver. Driving is the same where ever you are. He/she needs to be fired so that they NEVER hurt another child. You can't get a precious life back when it's gone. New York needs to FIX it's laws governing school bus drivers. Had this happened in Mississippi, the bus driver would have been charged and sent to jail for their negligent actions. Maybe New York will join the other states and blame the person who is at fault--the driver. Read the story above about the governor in Iowa who supports stricter illegal bus passing penalties. In that proposed law there is a clause that also makes the bus driver responsible for their actions when injuries like this one and fatalities occur.

lexi's mom    |    Jan 31, 2012 05:30 PM

Questions: Is this the bus the driver always drives? Which side of the steering wheel is the door activation control? What else was happening when the driver closed the door and started to move the bus? Were proper procedures followed at the stop or had they been modified by the regular driver? Is the driver a relief/substitute driver or was this his/her regular route? What part of the back pack was caught in the door? The district is acting very responsible by looking at the whole system for system causes rather than just blaming the driver.

Harvey Boatman    |    Jan 31, 2012 03:56 PM

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