Two bus crashes made today’s news.
In by far the more serious incident, a collision between a charter bus and a train killed four and injured dozens of others. It happened in downtown Biloxi, Mississippi. The bus, which had come from Austin, Texas, was hit by the eastbound train, operated by CSX en route from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama. The bus was transporting senior citizens to the Biloxi area. The tragedy occurred in the early afternoon at a crossing, and the impact was so intense that it pushed the bus about one hundred yards down the track. Investigators are still determining the factors that contributed to the wreck.
This morning, another mishap involving a bus occurred on Aldine Westfield near Beltway 8. A school bus operated by Aldine Independent School District left the road. Thankfully, no school children were on the bus, and it appears that the driver suffered little or no injuries.
These two incidents dramatically remind us of the need for bus safety. Bus safety begins with designing and maintaining a safe bus-one with appropriate glass for windows and fitted with seat belts, among other features. In addition, safe bus travel absolutely requires experienced, safe drivers. The railroad crossing in Biloxi was equipped with crossing arms and signal lights. We expect to learn in the ensuing days whether they were working properly. In addition, the train is required to sound its horn, and, of course, the bus driver is required to look down the tracks before crossing. Passenger safety depends upon due compliance with all of these requirements. Very likely, one or more of those involved failed adhere to safety standards.