New Safety Measures After Bus Crash

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

Harrisonburg city officials are calling for better safety measures following a school bus crash earlier this month. In a report released Wednesday, officials say that training for both students and drivers is needed.

Officials say that in the chaos of the crash, students didn't know what to do. Because of that, some of the injured were taken from the scene before medical personnel could even take a look at them. Even one of the bus drivers was injured during the March 4 crash.

"This instance, you know, there was a glitch in the system that allowed the students to leave the scene," says Harrisonburg Fire Chief Larry W. Shifflett.

He recently completed a report detailing what went wrong that day. Because of shift scheduling, police weren't able to respond to the scene as quickly as possible.

"Scene safety is our primary responsibility, so the quicker we can get there and ensure that, the better," says Maj. Malcolm F. Wilfong, Harrisonburg Police Department.

He says the department has altered its schedule so that an officer can respond at any time.

During the crash, some students left on other buses and were taken to school.

Once they got there, Shifflett says, "The students started complaining of neck aches, back aches, you know arms, legs, that kind of thing."

In his report, Shifflett asks what type of medical assessment was conducted to determine who would continue to school or remain at the scene for treatment. The answer in many cases was none.

"There has to be some level of responsibility directed to the students to accept responsibility for their own actions once they get off the bus," says Shifflett.

Shifflett says, starting next year, students will be trained on what to do during this type of accident. He says that students will get an updated handbook with the protocol, and that someone from the department has been invited to speak to students at the start of the year.


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