The horrifying fatal school bus accident in Chattanooga in November that killed five children has highlighted the frailties in the system that make it difficult to track accidents and take steps to effectively prevent similar deadly crashes.
In November, a bus left Woodmore Elementary School with approximately 37 students on board, crashed into a tree, and flipped over. Six children were killed, and several others injured, including six who were injured seriously enough to be rushed to the intensive care unit. The driver of the bus was arrested on charges of vehicle homicide. At least one of the children on the bus was a kindergartner.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), this year alone, there have been at least 700 accidents involving metro Atlanta school buses, or approximately 2 crashes a day. However, that data may be incomplete. Officials admit that the database lacks data on many accidents, and this makes it difficult for officials to track accident rates, pinpoint causes, and take steps to eliminate these accidents. Those steps include retraining school drivers, strengthening training and safety standards, and identifying accident trends in particular areas. Better accident data could also help identify dangerous drivers, who can then be removed from the system.