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School bus crash results in 'minor injuries'

Six students transported to hospital as precautionary measure, officials say

January 21, 2014
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A minor collision between a delivery truck and a Lee County school bus sent six children to the hospital as a precautionary measure Tuesday morning.

A school bus transporting students to Gulf Middle School at approximately 9 a.m. was involved in a minor low speed impact northbound on Del Prado Boulevard in the left turn lane onto Viscaya Parkway.

Initially there were reports of no injuries, but firefighters and Lee County paramedics were called out to evaluate everyone just in case. During the scene assessment, six students complained of various minor injuries.

"In an abundance of caution, firefighters and paramedics, working with School District representatives, transported six students for a precautionary evaluation at a local hospital," said Cape Coral Fire Department spokesman Michael Heeder in a prepared statement.

The two drivers involved as well as the other student passengers were checked but denied any injury, officials said.

After the preliminary investigation was concluded by Cape Coral Police, the traffic lanes were cleared.

This is the second traffic crash involving a school bus in Cape Coral in less than a week. In spite of that, safety procedures as well as construction features significantly reduce injuries and deaths involving school buses. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only one third of one percent (0.034%) of fatal traffic crashes involves school bus transportation. A large part of that is due to training of drivers and a proactive school bus safety education program conducted nationwide.

One of the major safety components in school buses are the seats constructed with thick padding and raised backs creating the concept of "compartmentalization." Seat "compartments" are designed to absorb the force in a crash, protecting the children, officials said.New bus seats are higher, wider and thicker, and all metal surfaces are covered with padding-all of which absorb energy in a crash. The seat structure allows it to bend forward when a child is thrown against it. Seats are also positioned no more than two feet apart, which limits the distance a child moves during a crash.

Compartmentalization provides protection in a head-on or a rear-end collision, which was a key safety feature in both crashes in Cape Coral.

This, coupled with the rapid response of School District officials and emergency workers, assures that students receive prompt attention and evaluation following a collision, officials said. In addition, Cape Coral firefighters receive ongoing medical training for all EMTs and paramedics that includes treatment of accident victims and managing a multiple injury situation such as a school bus crash.

Source: Cape Coral Fire Department



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