Would Seat Belts Have Made a Difference in Fatal School Bus Crash?

The driver who caused a fatal school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tenn. last week was involved in another crash just two months ago. Police say Johnthony Walker failed to yield the right of way and sideswiped another vehicle in an accident that happened in September. No one was hurt in that crash.

Sadly, that was not the case in the devastating crash Walker caused Monday afternoon. The Woodmore Elementary School bus was carrying 37 students when Walker swerved to the right off the roadway, struck a driveway and mailbox, then swerved left, causing the bus to overturn. The bus then struck a telephone pole and a tree. Five children were killed and 12 are currently being treated in the hospital for injuries.

Police say the driver was traveling well above the 30 mph speed limit when he lost control, causing the fatal school bus crash. He is facing five counts of vehicular homicide, as well as charges for reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

The school bus was not equipped with seat belts. There is no federal law requiring seat belts on school buses, and only six states—California included—require that school buses be equipped with seat belts. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that three-point seat belts would increase the safety of school buses and save lives. The National Safety Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics have also recommended that seat belts be standard on school buses.

“Our hearts are broken for the families who will be spending Thanksgiving without their children because of this horrific crash. We hope to see justice served for the victims and their families,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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