The summer holidays are over, and parents have bought uniforms and supplies, preparing their children for another academic year, safe in the knowledge that they will come to no harm whilst in the care of their school or college.
Not so, for several pupils of the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington, whose school bus collided with a low bridge on Neasham Road, Darlington at approximately 8.45 am this morning. The double-decker bus was taking approximately 50 students to the college, and was around a mile away from its destination when the roof and top deck were entirely ripped off. Up to 13 pupils were injured, the most serious injuries being a fractured collar bone sustained by a teenage girl.
College principal Mr Tim Fisher stated: "The bus doesn't normally travel on that road, and part of the investigation will be why the bus took that route. We have spoken to the emergency services, and the investigation is in police hands".
A local resident, living alongside the bridge, said that it was the third time in four years that a vehicle had crashed into the bridge, which was clearly marked as being low.
This incident mirrors others involving pupils being transported to and from school which have occurred in recent years. In March 2011 a driver for a Chesterfield school took a route using a double-decker bus, when he had previously only driven along the road with a single-decker. Several children were injured when the bus hit a low bridge, and the driver was subsequently fined. Another similar incident occurred in December 2009 when a Leicester school bus was badly damaged as a result of the driver becoming confused by foggy conditions.
Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt, but the children do have the right to claim if they have been injured, and this would be done via their parents.
At Stephensons, we have dedicated accident claims lawyers who specialise in handling cases where children have been injured. Whether or not liability has been admitted, we are able to help. To discuss your case call us on 0844 245 6601.
By personal injury executive, Pauline Smith