Police believe speed played a role in the Chattanooga bus crash that killed five.
Chattanooga, TN- On Monday November 22, 2016, the city if Chattanooga was rocked by a tragic bus crash that left five children dead. Now, the driver involved in the crash is facing several counts, including vehicular homicide.
Police told USA Today that they believe 24-year-old Johnthony Walker was speeding when he lost control of a school bus carrying 35 children from a local elementary school. According to reports, after losing control, the bus careened off the roadway, slammed into a tree and overturned, ejecting some of the children.
Police are not sure how fast the bus was when it crashed, but did say the driver was traveling “well-above” the 30-mph speed limit. The NTSB is working with local law enforcement to determine the cause of the crash.
Five children on the bus were killed and dozens were injured. Some students remain hospitalized and in serious condition, others have been released.
According to Fox News, Walker was involved in a minor accident in September. In that incident, Walker crossed the center median and sideswiped an SUV. No one was hurt in that incident, but he was cited for the crash.
Seat belts are not mandatory in school buses in Tennessee.
USA Today reports that Walker was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving.
This crash has given raised the question: Should school buses have seat belts? In the aftermath of the crash, one Chattanooga lawmaker introduced legislation that would require seat belts in all school buses throughout the state. Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, told USA Today that he is still working on the details of the legislation, but it could in include a mandate that buses be retrofitted.
Seat belts in school buses may make student’s safer, but there is little data to show if they are effective. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s policy is that “seat belts save lives,” ABC News reports and suggested that bus manufacturers make three-point safety restraints standard on buses.
Fortunately, fatal crashes involving school buses are uncommon. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is an average of 134 fatalities resulting from school bus crashes each year in the U.S. Most of the fatalities, 71 percent, involved occupants of other vehicles, while only 8 percent of those killed were on a school bus. Pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 21 percent of fatalities.
Contact an accident lawyer to see if you should take legal action in the wake of your crash.
This accident was so heartbreaking for the children and their loved ones, and Walker’s actions are inexcusable.
A serious accident can drastically change the course of a victim’s life and the lives of their loved ones. If you are the victim of a traffic crash, we recommend you contact personal injury lawyer George R. Fusner, Jr. in Chattanooga to advise you about the legal options you have. During your troubling time, you can benefit from having an accident attorney working on your case. We recommend you contact the Law Office of George R. Fusner, Jr. and set up a consultation.

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