A school bus crashed on Gray Highway on Jan. 23, 2012 after a tractor trailer ran a red light and hit the bus’s passenger side. No serious injuries were sustained, but 20 people were rushed to the hospital as a “preventative” measure, according to Director of Transportation Todd Harris.
The bus was traveling back from a leadership conference at Macon State College, carrying students from Northeast High School and Hutchings Career Center. The tractor trailer was approaching from the other direction. It had been a rainy day and the road was slick.
Harris said that the collision occurred at approximately 1:45 p.m., as the school bus was turning left onto Old Clinton Road. The truck struck a car before it collided with the bus.
There were no major injuries at the scene, but emergency vehicles were called to take 16 students and the bus driver to the Medical Center of Central Georgia to be treated for minor injuries, according to news network 13WMAZ. Harris said that the driver of the car that was hit was unharmed.
The news network also said that, according to the police, the driver of the eighteen-wheeler was charged with “Failure to Maintain Lane, Driving Too Fast for Conditions and Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device.”
Harris said that the situation was handled as well as possible.
“In this particular incident, I think all procedures were followed,” Harris said. “I don’t think there’s anything the bus driver could have done.”
Harris said that, for the safety of the students, the school board department of transportation tries to prevent accidents by planning bus routes around areas of concern where vehicle collisions are more likely to occur. In this case, however, Harris said that the area is not enough of a concern to warrant changing the bus route, especially since it would take the bus far out of the way of where it needed to go.
“We’ll just amp up the awareness,” Harris said.
For some, school bus collisions are a particular cause for concern, because they may have children who ride the buses regularly. To abate those fears, Harris had this to say:
“Think about it like this: that tractor trailer was pulling 80,000 pounds of sand, and nobody was seriously injured. There’s really not a safer vehicle on the road.”
“You’re in good shape on a school bus,” he added.