Crowley ISD bus crash raises safety questions

Two Crowley ISD bus drivers are on leave after one school bus rear-ended another Monday, leaving more than two dozen students injured.

Now, some parents are raising safety concerns.

Investigators said the crash happened when the first bus driver stopped to address a problem on the bus. The second bus was driving over a hill and was unable to stop before hitting the first one.

Some of the students needed stitches and had whiplash symptoms.

These buses didn't have seatbelts.

"[With seatbelts] it wouldn't have thrown ‘em around," said Karon Pearce, the grandmother of a Summer Creek Middle School student. "They would've been anchored somewhere."

Currently, there is no federal law or state enforcement for seatbelts on school buses.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration concluded that seatbelts do not make buses safer. Among the reasons, the buckles can cause more harm than good if unfastened and frightened children may become trapped in a fire if strapped in.

Durham School Services, which provides the buses, did not respond to questions about why it doesn't have seatbelts, nor did it directly address the first bus driver's actions, saying, "Our drivers undergo behind-the-wheel and in-classroom training…should an incident occur while transporting students, the bus driver's responsibility is to take measures to keep all students calm and safe. This includes reporting the incident to dispatch, who will alert the appropriate authorities if necessary. "

Durham says both bus drivers were off on Tuesday, and will remain so until the end of an internal investigation.


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