Association officials ask NHTSA to raise public awareness on the dangers of illegal passing of school buses.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal statistics show that inattentive drivers contribute to approximately 3 percent of all vehicle-train crashes at highway-rail grade crossings, according to Operation Lifesaver Inc (OLI).
The nonprofit railroad safety education organization also reported that 20 percent of grade crossing collisions involve motor vehicles striking trains at a crossing.
These statistics are relevant as U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood convenes a Distracted Driving Summit here Wednesday and Thursday.
“Distracted driving can lead to serious consequences at highway-rail grade crossings,” OLI President Helen M. Sramek said. “In addition to the tragic deaths and injuries caused by car-train collisions, these events also are costly for communities. Emergency responders and roadways can be tied up for hours, keeping responders from other community emergencies and drivers from their jobs and homes.”
OLI reported that a total of 2,397 highway-rail grade crossing collisions occurred last year, resulting in 286 deaths and more than 900 injuries.
Moreover, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics show that in 78 of these collisions, the cause was “highway user inattentiveness,” resulting in 14 deaths and 117 injuries. Through the first six months of 2009, there were 34 highway-rail grade crossing incidents caused by highway user inattentiveness, resulting in six deaths and 52 injuries.
Other FRA statistics show that in 488 of last year’s grade crossing collisions, the vehicle ran into a train already present at the crossing. Of those crashes, more than 60 percent were at crossings that were equipped with gates or flashing lights, while just over 33 percent occurred at crossings with stop signs or cross buck warning signs.
“Although these collisions may have other causes, text-messaging or other distractions may be contributing factors,” Sramek said. “In one incident reported by a major railroad, the motorist stopped on the track to answer the phone; another railroad notes that in more than 41 percent of the incidents where a vehicle hit a train, the vehicle did not stop.”
A California school bus with seven special-needs students aboard strikes a Ford Mustang, the Mustang strikes a Ford Sienna, and the bus continues on and hits a Honda Odyssey. No students are injured.
A school bus flips onto its side after a minivan fails to yield to the bus. All four students aboard the bus, who are wearing seat belts, are uninjured.
Hillsborough County students who live within 2 miles of their middle school or high school may no longer be eligible to ride the bus because of a lack of state funding for courtesy busing.
NYAPT’s Nov. 20 survey of illegal school bus passing finds that 1,086 school bus drivers reported they were passed a total of 883 times.
Winning entries come from students in Minnesota, Kentucky, and British Columbia. Honorable mentions are also selected this year.
National and state pupil transportation groups offer their condolences to the families and others impacted by the fatal crash.
The fatal crash occurred on a curving road that was not part of driver Johnthony Walker’s route, investigators have found.
In a video statement, David Duke of Durham School Services issues an emotional apology to the families impacted by the crash, in which five students were killed.
The school bus driver in the single-vehicle crash in Chattanooga faces multiple charges, including vehicular homicide and reckless driving.
This production from Greenville (S.C.) County Schools instructs the district’s school bus drivers on procedures for loading and unloading students.
The driver of one of three buses traveling to Opryland in Nashville loses control of the bus and overcorrects, and the bus overturns when it hits a guardrail.
As two students in Marietta, Georgia, are exiting their bus, the driver sees a man shooting a gun nearby and brings the students back on board. The shooter can be seen in bus video footage.
If autonomous school buses are in our future, they will still need a pupil transportation professional on board to keep an eye on the kids and to make sure that loading and unloading are carried out safely.
A county prosecutor in New Jersey says that the investigation is ongoing, but it appears that the bus was properly within its lane of travel when it was struck by an SUV.