Bus Video Shows Oklahoma Principal Using Phone Before Crash

The attorney for a young girl injured in the crash alleges new video shows Cleveland Elementary School principal Ty Bell using his cellphone while driving.

More Information About the Cleveland Elementary Bus Crash

According to Central Texas News Now, Bell was driving 24 fifth-grade girls and three adults to Sea World in San Antonio when the bus rolled over and crashed into a fence. The students were transported to nearby hospitals where two were treated for minor injuries. The crash occurred on Highway 281 near Lampasas airport in September 2018.

Bell is Accused of Distracted Driving

Bell was allegedly speeding and using his cellphone when he lost control of the bus. Texas Highway Patrol requested the bus video from Norman Public School district, but their request was denied.

Bell denies any wrongdoing.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

The National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NHTSA) reports more than 3,400 deaths in 2016 were a result of distracted driving, naming texting as the most common distraction.

In September 2017, The state of Texas instituted a statewide ban on texting while driving as a way to decrease distracted driving incidents. Offenders face fines of up to $99 for a first offense and $200 for multiple offenses.

School Bus Accident Statistics

On average, of 30 school-age children are killed each year in school-transportation-related crashes — most of them outside of the bus or in other vehicles — according to newly updated federal data.

According to NHTSA, from 2006 to 2015, there were 324,710 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,172 (0.4%) were classified as being related to school transportation.

Even within the school-transportation-related fatalities, less than a quarter of those killed are children. In the 2006 to 2015 time span, NHTSA’s data show that 1,313 people of all ages were killed in crashes related to school transportation, with 301 of them (23%) being school-age children (age 18 or younger).

The report also shows that most of the child fatalities take place outside of school buses or in other vehicles. Of the 301 school-age children killed in school-transportation-related crashes from 2006 to 2015:

  • 54 (18%) were occupants of school transportation vehicles
  • 137 (46%) were occupants of other vehicles
  • 102 (34%) were pedestrians
  • Eight (3%) were cyclists

According to NHTSA’s data, of the school-age pedestrians killed in school-transportation-related crashes from 2006 to 2015:

  • 61% were struck by school buses.
  • 3% were struck by vehicles functioning as school buses.
  • 36% were struck by other vehicles involved in the crashes.

NHTSA defines a school-transportation-related crash as one that involves, either directly or indirectly, a school bus body vehicle or a non-school bus functioning as a school bus, transporting children to or from school or school-related activities.

Contact an Experienced Bus Accident Attorney

If you or your child have been injured in a bus accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our team of experienced bus accident attorneys are available to evaluate your claim 24/7, nights and weekends. Thomas J. Henry has the financial resources and the track record of winning that you need in a law firm. Contact us today for a free case review. Our firm has offices in Corpus ChristiSan Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.

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