Twelve students age elementary school to fourteen years old were take to a local hospital emergency room with non-life threatening injuries after the school bus that was taking them home from school overturned on Enterprise Road around 3:30 pm on January 22, 2015 The bus was taking the children home from the Clanton Intermediate and Clanton Elementary schools when the accident occurred. Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell confirmed that the bus driver was not injured and that investigators with the Clanton Police Department and Chilton County Sheriff’s Office are in the process of trying to determine what caused the bus to turn over on its side on a straight section of highway in the middle of the day during normal weather conditions. The accident is under investigation, and no charges have been filed against the driver. The police ask that everyone refrain from participating in rumors that may cause further hardships to the driver involved.

Whenever a school bus is involved in an accident, especially a bus carrying young children, we are instantly reminded of our worst fears, those being that our children could be killed or injured in a school bus crash. Even though no children were seriously injured in this accident, there was a tragic school bus accident in our area recently that involved the deaths of four Alabama teenagers that is impossible to forget.

In 2006, four teenage girls Crystal Renee McCrary, 17; Christine Collier, 18; Nicole Ford, 17; and Tanesha Hill, age unknown died from injuries sustained when their school bus plunged off a highway overpass in Alabama. The bus was transporting 40 students home from Lee High School when a car veered into the bus’ lane, causing the bus to plunge off the overpass some 30 feet, landing on its front end and flipping over. The driver was ejected from the bus before it went over the side of the overpass.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2003 and 2012, 106 people died on school buses involved in crashes across the country — an average of six passengers and five drivers per year, according to NHTSA statistics. Only six state currently have laws requiring seat belts on school buses. They are California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Texas and Louisiana have struggled to fully implement the statutes because of a lack of funding. Alabama continues to study the issue.