The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating three separate traffic accidents from October 2018 in which children on their way to school were struck and killed by motor vehicles. The trio of tragedies had one thing in common: all occurred when children were crossing a road during early morning darkness.
No roadway lighting
One occurred around 7:12 a.m., on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, near where a school bus in Rochester, Fulton County, Indiana, stopped to pick up students at the designated location. A pickup truck struck the four children who were crossing the roadway in the early morning darkness. The school bus had its warning lights on, and the driver had deployed the stop arm. The two-lane highway had a posted speed limit of 55 mph. There is no roadway lighting at this location.
The four children were crossing the roadway when they were struck by the pickup. A nine-year-old girl and two six-year old boys were killed, and an 11-year-old boy was transported by air ambulance to a medical facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for treatment of his injuries. The occupants of the school bus were not injured in the crash.
The NTSB is continuing to gather information on the student transportation policies of the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, the planning and development of bus routes, and the safety issues related to school bus loading and unloading of students on high-speed roadways.
In support of this investigation, the NTSB is also investigating two other crashes involving school bus loading and unloading. These crashes occurred in Hartsfield, Georgia, and Baldwyn, Mississippi, and are briefly summarized below:
Similar incidents in Georgia...
Hartsfield, Georgia: About 6:50 a.m. on Thursday, October 25, 2018, a school bus traveling north in the 1000 block of Thigpen Trail, in Hartsfield, Georgia, stopped to pick up students at the designated location when a Kia car traveling south struck two children, who had started to cross the roadway in the early morning darkness. The school bus, operated by the Colquitt County School District, had its warning lights on, and the driver had deployed the stop arm. The posted speed limit is 55 mph. As a result of the crash, a 10-year-old male was fatally injured. A 7-year-old male suffered serious injuries and was transported by air ambulance to a medical facility.
Baldwyn, Mississippi: About 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, a school bus traveling east on State Highway 370 near the intersection with County Road 2578 in Baldwyn, Mississippi, stopped to pick up students at the designated location when a Toyota pickup truck traveling west struck a child, who was crossing the highway in the early morning darkness. The school bus, operated by the Baldwyn School District, had its warning lights on, and the driver had deployed the stop arm. The posted speed limit is 55 mph. As a result of the crash, a 9-year-old male was fatally injured.
All aspects of the Rochester, Indiana, crash remain under investigation as the NTSB focuses on determining the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes.