Video cameras onboard a Port St. Lucie school bus captured images of the tragic collision with a speeding tractor-trailer that killed a student and left others injured. The built-in video cameras, trained on the driver and the passengers, collected video of the crash and its aftermath. Thanks to the positioning of the cameras, accident investigators had the opportunity to watch the driver’s behavior and the passengers’ behavior pre and post crash. The cameras also allowed researchers to evaluate the evacuation procedures first responders followed while responding to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) analyzed the data preserved in the recording system and reached conclusions as to how the accident happened. The truck accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, represent victims of truck accidents and their families to win them the compensation they deserve.
The tragic crash occurred on March 26, 2012, on State Road-70 which also known as the Okeechobee Road. The school bus had 30 school children onboard and one driver. The bus was traveling west and entered the left-turn lane. The bus stopped before crossing into the eastbound lane, headed onto Midway Road. The bus nearly made its way safely across the intersection when a tractor-trailer headed eastbound on Okocheebee Road at 63 miles per hour slammed into the right rear quarter of the bus. The speed limit on the road is 55 miles per hour. The impact was in the area of the right rear tires. The impact forced the bus to turn 180 degrees. The tractor-trailer continued east until it flipped when it reached the soft shoulder on the right side of the road.The crash caused the death of one child on the bus. Several other children were injured, including eight seriously. The bus driver suffered minor injuries. The tractor-trailer truck driver refused medical treatment.
The school bus cameras recorded video which assisted investigators with the crash analysis. The cameras showed the driver behavior as well as the passenger behavior. These views are critical to crash analysis because they permit investigators to observe how people were acting in the crucial moments before the collision. The greatest concern for researchers is whether the driver was inattentive. The cameras allow the police to determine whether the driver was using a cellphone, admonishing an unruly passenger, or suffered a medical event. The passenger view allows investigators to see what the kids were doing before the crash. The cameras also show how the impact affected the students. The camera views showed how the children’s’ bodies thrashed around the bus interior from forces created by the collision.
The NTSB reached some important conclusions on the kinematics of the children. Kinematics is the study of the body’s motion in response to the application of various forces. It is important to note that the kids wore seatbelts that fastened across their laps. The researchers found the forces applied to the children’s bodies were much greater closer to the impact, which was near the back of the bus, contrasted with the forces applied to the children in front of the bus. Of course, there was a considerable force applied to the area of impact on the bus, but the NTSB study found that the bus’ front axle was a pivot point. The bus violently swung around that pivot point for 180 degrees. That whipping motion caused the rear passengers to be violently thrown around the rear of the bus. The children in the rear suffered the most severe injuries.
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