A Mercedes sedan driver was killed Wednesday morning near Opp, Ala., after his vehicle collided with the rear of a school bus and erupted in flames. None of the 25 students or the bus driver was hurt in the school bus collision. The bus was transporting students for the Opp City Schools System.
The accident is similar to one that occurred in September, when an SUV collided with the back of a Huntsville, Ala., school bus. The SUV driver and front seat passenger were seriously injured in the crash, and the driver later died at an area hospital. None of the 26 students on that bus, nor the driver, was injured in the crash.
The accidents raise the question of why school buses are not equipped with underride guards, similar to what is mandatory on 18-wheelers. The guards are steel bars that hang from underneath the back of a tractor trailer to prevent passenger vehicles from moving underneath the trailer during a crash. If a vehicle moves under the trailer, its bumper is not effective, and the vehicle may be impacted on the hood and windshield, seriously injuring or killing vehicle occupants.
Huntsville news station KFSM talked to Stan Andrews, the director of Ei Consultants, LLC, which provides accident reconstructions. He said that while placing an underride guard on a school bus would provide more protection to other vehicles in a rear-end collision, it could have serious detrimental effects for the bus and its passengers.
“If it has a rear underride guard, it is going to push the bus forward” in the event of a collision, he told KFSM. “There will be more forces applied to the bus.”
This means a harder impact on the bus, which translates to potentially putting many more people at risk of serious injury or death.
KFSM5News – Huntsville Teen Dies After SUV Crashes Into School Bus
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Insurance Institute for Highway Safety