Parents reassess school bus safety after Tennessee tragedy

22News spoke with western Massachusetts parents about school bus safety.

Multiple deaths were reported and at least 23 were taken to the hospital in a "very serious" school bus crash in Chattanooga on Nov. 21, 2016.

Credit: Chattanooga Fire Department
Multiple deaths were reported and at least 23 were taken to the hospital in a "very serious" school bus crash in Chattanooga on Nov. 21, 2016. Credit: Chattanooga Fire Department

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP/AP)- Five children were killed, and more than twenty others were sent to the hospital after a school bus crashed in Chattanooga, Tennessee Monday. Police said the 24-year-old driver, Johnthony Walker, was driving well over the posted 30 mph speed limit, losing control.

Deborah Dunn, of Chicopee told 22News, “That was horrendous I feel really bad for those parents that lost their kids, kids that are hurt. There is no need for it. Time to put the guy in jail. Sorry.”

Walker was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide and jailed on $107,500 bail and will be in court next Tuesday.  The National Transportation and Safety Board is looking at the bus’ black box and footage from three cameras that were on board.

It’s lead many people to the question of whether lives could have been saved if seat belts were on board that bus? But there is no federal mandate that requires students to wear seat belts on a school bus. There are only six states including, New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas that require school buses to be equipped with school buses for passengers.

There have been several attempts to pass laws to require seat belts in Massachusetts, but all have failed.

“It’s scarey as a parent when you put your children on a bus in the safety of somebody that you have no idea who they are. There’s no seat belts on the bus, it just makes you reassess you know maybe laws that should be passed around safety and buses,” Launa Kazeroid, of Chicopee said.

The NTSB says they are looking at what seat belts could have done in the crash in Tennessee.

 

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