A 4-year-old is dead, three elementary school students are recovering from injuries and a bus driver may be facing charges following a head-on collision between a school bus and a tractor-trailer in Aiken County, South Carolina (SC). The fatal wreck occurred early in the morning of May 27, 2015, near the intersection of Scarborough Drive and Beech Island Avenue.
News reports indicate that the driver of the Greendale Elementary School bus steered into the path of the semi. Witnesses said the bus operator was not texting prior to the deadly crash, and it remains unclear why she left her lane. Another type of distraction may be to blame, as could speeding around a curve. The investigation is ongoing.
Parents, kids and the broader community depend on the skills of bus drivers, but driving a school bus is not easy. The sheer size of the vehicle creates challenges when it comes to turning, stopping and staying on the right side of the road. Add dozens of noisy students, heavy traffic, unpredictable weather, and alternating periods of darkness and sun glare, and doing the essential job of transporting children to and from school safely each morning and afternoon can seem too difficult.
Even acknowledging all of that, however, the overwhelming majority of school bus drivers meet their obligations to operate responsibly and protect children's lives. When a bus driver does act negligently or recklessly, as appears to have happened in the lead-up to this fatal Aiken County wreck, the results can be tragic.