It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. A 10-year old girl was killed in a horrific school bus accident on Route 80 while on a field trip. A teacher also lost her life in the crash and 43 people from the bus, including the truck driver, were hospitalized. The bus, which was carrying 38 students and 7 adults from Paramus, collided with a dump truck on the highway.
Although the accident investigation is ongoing, at this time it appears as though the bus driver allegedly made a sharp left across multiple lanes of the highway in order to reach a cut-through to the eastbound lanes – an area of the highway median that is reserved for emergency vehicles and State Troopers.
Investigators are reviewing amateur video that shows the dump truck swerving to avoid the accident, but it appears that the truck was unable to miss hitting the bus as it stretched perpendicularly across the highway.
Student deaths on school buses are infrequent but heartbreaking. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 118 people killed on school bus crashes from 2007 to 2016. Of these, 58 were school-aged children and 50 were drivers.
Determining Liability in a School Bus Accident
There are many factors that will be considered as investigators continue looking into the cause of this bus crash.
It has been revealed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission that the driver of the school bus allegedly has had his license suspended 14 times since 1975, although at the time of the accident he had no active points on his license.
New Jersey law requires that seat belts be installed on school buses. Were they in use at the time of the accident and were they being used properly?
Although it appears that the bus crossed the highway towards an illegal U-turn and collided with the dump truck, could the dump truck or its driver be responsible in any way for the accident?
Were either of the involved drivers distracted by cellphone use, texting or using GPS?
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