Child Dragged Over 100 Feet by School Bus
According to Fox 2 News in Kentucky, a disturbing video has emerged online showing a young girl being dragged some 100 feet after her backpack became stuck in a closed school bus door. The incident occurred in Louisville, Kentucky and is the most recent of several dragging instances involving young children and school buses. The seven year old girl was getting off the school bus when her backpack became caught in the door. Police report the young girl was dragged at least 100 feet but neighbors believe the distance was far greater.
Fox 2 News reports the driver of the bus, who has since been suspended, did not stop the bus until the driver of a red Chevrolet Camero sped up alongside the bus and blared its horn. Neighbors expressed outrage and concern that the girl could have been dragged even longer of a distance without the driver even noticing.
The young girl suffered road rash and was transported to an area hospital. Though her condition has not been immediately released, she is fortunately expected to fully recover from her injuries. Sadly, this Louisville accident is not a lone occurrence. According to School Transportation News, an 11 year old girl in Florida was tragically killed in 2004 after her backpack was also caught in the bus loading doors. In that case, she was dragged over 60 feet. Further, a Louisiana boy suffered a similar fate after being dragged 20 feet about four years ago.
Dozens of students in at least 17 states have been dragged by school buses, primarily when their backpacks became stuck in the doors. While some buses have been recalled in order to modify handrails to prevent dragging, the problem continues. Two student transportation experts developed the phrase "Check the door, once more!" in an effort to encourage school bus drivers to double check that students are not stuck in the door before the bus continues forward. These experts further believe that changing the common service door design would prevent dragging. Currently, the service door switch is generally located to the left of the driver. It has been theorized that placing it instead to the right would force drivers to look at the door as they shut it, thus increasing the odds the driver would notice a trapped student.
Bus drivers are also encouraged to:
- Scan all mirrors for the presence of students outside of the bus;
- Check crossover mirrors for students in the front area of the bus, near the wheels, or in the door area;
- Glance back at the door before putting the bus into drive and make it a habit to wait several minutes after the last student has entered before driving; and
- Perform a final mirror sweep before pulling out into traffic.
With better education, some engineering changes, and enforcement of school bus safety rules, it is the hope of student transportation experts, the community, and parents that no further students are dragged by school buses in the future.
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