Five children were killed in a school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee today. The bus was carrying 37 children from kindergarten to fifth grade. Based on witness statements in the police report, the bus was traveling at a high speed, well above the speed limit of 30 mph, and it slammed into a tree which split the bus apart. The bus was on a winding road when the driver lost control, striking an elevated driveway and mailbox, swerving, and then overturning. The school bus driver was reportedly involved in a separate bus collision two months ago.

“A bus crash involving schoolchildren is every public safety professional’s worst nightmare,” said Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher. There were no seat belts on the school bus. The argument that compartmentalization provides safety in school buses is clearly proven incorrect here. It only costs $2,000 to 5,000 per bus to install seat belts in school buses, and seat belts should be required in all school buses.

Our thoughts go out to all the families involved.