New Safety Measures Considered after School Bus Crash Kills New Jersey Girl

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is considering new safety measures after the release of a report on a February, 2012 school bus accident at 8 a.m. near Chesterfield, New Jersey, in which an 11-year-old girl was killed and 17 other children were hurt, five seriously.

In the accident, a dump truck driven by Michael Caporale, 38, of New Egypt struck the bus driven by John Tieman, 66, of Beverly at the intersection of Route 528 and Old York Road.The truck hit the rear left side of the bus, making it spin around and collide with a utility pole supporting a traffic light.

Investigators said that Tieman should have been able to see the truck coming, but because of his fatigue and medications he was taking he may not have realized the danger in time.Tieman had passed a medical exam required for a commercial driver’s license, but failed to tell the chiropractor who performed the exam about medications he was taking that have sedative effects.

Caporale’s dump truck was traveling between 53 and 58 miles per hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone at the time of the crash.

The school bus was equipped with seatbelts, as is required by New Jersey law.New Jersey is only one of six states to require seatbelts on school busses. However, it appeared that the student who was killed wasn’t wearing her seatbelt at the time of the accident.

Although the bus in the Chesterfield crash had seatbelts, which reduced injuries for the students who were wearing them, it did not have shoulder harnesses.In an accident, bus passengers who are not wearing shoulder harnesses can suffer injuries when their upper bodies contact hard surfaces, such as seat backs and windows.

The NTSB recommended more than ten years ago that federal regulators require that hard surfaces in school buses be padded, when possible.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C.

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