A mother and her 2-year-old, along with 21 students aboard a Union County, North Carolina (NC), school bus suffered injuries after the bus driver lost control of her vehicle shortly before 8 am on January 5, 2015. According to WSOC-TV, the woman behind the wheel of the bus ran off the right should of Unionville-Indian Trail Road, overcorrected, crossed the center line of the highway and hit the minivan. One of the schoolchildren sustained serious injuries, and the van driver suffered two broken legs and an arm fracture.
As a result of the collision, the bus rolled over onto its side, which led to most of the injuries inflicted on the kids traveling back to school for the first day following their winter holiday vacation. The Charlotte Observer described the bus driver as "inattentive," and NC Highway Patrol officers have charged her with driving left of center. It is unclear if other charges will be filed.
In a separate incident the same day, according to the newspaper, a minivan driver ran head-on into another school bus, injuring two. That other accident occurred on Austin Chaney Road in the Union County town of Wingate.
Both wrecks highlight the dangers schoolchildren can face on buses. While more than 99 percent of school bus trips end safely, risks from distracted, fatigued, reckless and impaired drivers -- both aboard and in other vehicles -- are ever-present. The only way to prevent accidents like the two southeast of Charlotte is to ensure every driver remains alert and in control, obey signals to stop while children get on and off buses, and slow down in school zones and near bus stops. On the road, adults literally hold children's health and lives in their hands when they grip a steering wheel.