Illinois school bus accidents generally are not common. That’s because not only are there traffic laws that specifically apply to motorists driving near school buses, but also because school bus drivers receive numerous hours of training in safely operating these buses.
That’s why it is so unusual (and disturbing) that there were two school bus accidents in a 24-hour period in northeast Illinois. On Tuesday December 18th, a school bus collided with a pickup truck in Palatine, and three students suffered whiplash injuries. But a more serious incident occurred the following day in Lake County.
The following Wednesday morning, a school bus carrying 43 seventh-graders was heading for the Allstate Arena in Rosemont for a field trip to a Chicago Wolves hockey game. Around 9:30am, the bus was driving south on the Tri-State Tollway when it slowed down near Deerfield Road. Behind it, one box truck rear-ended another box truck, which slammed into the back of the school bus. A total of 20 students were injured as was the bus driver, though none of the injuries were reportedly life-threatening. All of the people who were hurt were transported to area hospitals.
The driver of the box truck which initiated the rear-end collision is a 47-year old Wisconsin man who was driving for Goodwill Industries. He was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. As a result, he will probably be held fully responsible for the injuries to the students and bus driver.
If they choose, the parents of the injured middle schoolers could file personal injury lawsuits against the box truck driver as well as Goodwill Industries, which in this case is responsible for the actions of its driver. These suits could allow the plaintiffs to collect reimbursement for medical costs incurred as a result of the school bus accident.