It's what every parent absolutely does not want to hear: your child did not die in vain. Let's hope, at least, that's the case with the crossing fatality of a 6-year-old boy in Morganza, La., last night.
The boy had just exited his school bus about 6 p.m. and was crossing the highway when a motorist traveling in the opposite direction hit him. Granted, it was dark, but one can only assume the driver ignored or somehow missed the stopped school bus with its red lights flashing and stop sign extended.
The fatality was at least the fifth this school year, the third involving a 6-year-old student who was hit while crossing the street either to or from the school bus stop. A 5-year-old Atlanta boy was struck and killed in September by his own school bus after he dropped his bookbag and bent over to pick it up. Unfortunately, as history tells us, there will be more needless child deaths at the school bus stop.
Since January, 23 students have died in the so-called school bus "danger zone," the 10-foot radius around the school bus that has proven so problematic this industry. Sometimes, school bus drivers themselves are to blame for not properly adjusting, checking and re-checking their rearview mirrors. In many other instances, like the one last night, a careless motorist is at fault. Police arrested and charged Gloria Green, 61, of Morganza with negligent homicide and failure to obey school bus traffic signals.
Would studen-wornt LEDs, like those used in Eanes, Texas, just outside of Austin, have made a difference? What about copying a California state regulation that school bus drivers turn off the engine and accompany young riders across the street after unloading? Maybe. Maybe not.
While the school bus ride is considered the safest possible, it is also true that too many of the same children who benefit from the school bus are continuing to die on the streets either before or after their school commute. It's not just a problem for the school transportation industry but society as a whole. While not nearly of the same scale, still, it seems that school children who are on their way to or from the school bus have become invisible to many motorists similar to motorcycle riders.
What do you think?