NTSB Reiterates Call for Seatbelts after Fatal School Bus Crash

In October 20220, a fatal school bus crash happened involving a service utility truck in Tennessee. Let’s explore the details of the incident with Ehline Law and our school bus accident-injury attorneys.

Utility Truck and School Bus Involved in Fatal Accident in Decatur

On October 27, 2022, a utility truck driver was looking in his rearview mirror when the truck’s right wheels drifted off the roadway. When the driver realized half of his truck was not on the roadway, he steered back into the road, causing his vehicle to enter the opposite lane. A school bus was coming on that lane, and even though the approaching school bus driver braked, it wasn’t enough to stop the vehicles from colliding.

Fatal Bus Crash Results in Two Dead and 14 Injured

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reported two deaths, the school bus driver and a 7-year-old student. Four students suffered serious injuries, and 10 others sustained minor injuries from the accident.

Onboard Camera Footage Gives Valuable Insight into the Accident

The cameras aboard the bus gave the investigative team footage of the seating positions and other valuable information. According to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the passengers were not properly seated during the crash, increasing the risk of injuries.

Investigations also revealed that if the school bus had lap and shoulder belts, it would’ve reduced the severity of the injuries sustained.

NTSB Makes Recommendation to Help Reduce Injuries in School Bus Accidents

In light of the 2020 Tennessee school bus crash, the NTSB recommended the following measures to increase school bus safety for students:

  • Equipping new vehicles with lane departure prevention systems
  • Install lap and shoulder belts in new large school buses
  • Large buses over 10,000 pounds to have onboard video event recorders.

The NTSB issued recommendations to National School Transportation Association, National Association for Pupil Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and other relevant organizations.

Although buses have lane departure warning systems, according to NTSB project manager Meg Sweeney, it would’ve not prevented the accident, which is why there is a need for lane departure prevention systems.

Sweeney also mentioned that the designated employees in the abovementioned organizations must periodically review onboard video camera footage to keep a check on the students and ensure safe transportation behaviors and enhance bus safety training.

Following the devastating Decatur accident, the state established a $3 million grant fund to which school districts can apply to purchase school buses with seat belts.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law

Although NTSB reiterates the call for seatbelts after the fatal school bus crash, it is not necessary that the school districts follow these recommendations. Another critical thing to note is that the accident occurred because of the negligent truck driver. Fortunately, injured victims can recover compensation if they suffer injuries in an accident due to another’s negligence. If you suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be eligible for compensation.


Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.

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