Lincoln County, Kentucky, Officials Vow to Improve School Bus Safety After Accident Kills One Driver, Sends Two Dozen Children to the Hospital

May 15, 2014

Following a crash that left more than two dozen children injured, school buses in Lincoln County, Kentucky, will be investigated for school bus safety.

school-bus-red-light-655548-m.jpgThe accident occurred on May 7, when two school buses were riding along Kentucky 78 outside of Stanford. When the first school bus stopped due to traffic, the driver of the second bus, Judy Asbery, could not slow down in time to avoid collision. Instead, she swerved the bus into the oncoming lane of traffic and hit a white pickup truck head-on. Afterward, more than half of the 48 children on the bus had to be taken to local hospitals. Fortunately, none had life-threatening injuries, and most were released from the hospital that day. The 36-year-old driver of the other vehicle was not so lucky. He recently died due to injuries caused by the crash.

Kentucky 78 is known for causing a large number of vehicle collisions, but many thought that would change after it was recently rebuilt to be wider and straighter. Although the driving record of the bus driver was unavailable, Lincoln County school officials claim that there were no previous complaints about her driving. Now attention has turned to the safety of the Lincoln County school buses. The Kentucky Department of Education had conducted an audit on the county's transportation department three weeks prior and found that the bus conditions were "inefficient" and maintenance was considered to be "marginal."

The school bus in the recent crash was 20 years old and had more than 238,000 miles on its odometer, but officials insist that it was still fit to use. The bus had recently passed an inspection on April 3. However, it was not one of the regular buses, since the usual school bus was out of service while having its seats repaired. Of the 68 school buses in the fleet, 52 are used to drive children to and from school, while the others are used for field trips and other events that require longer drives.

School officials are so concerned about the audit that they held a school board meeting to approve the budget for hiring new maintenance workers and to update the bus life system. The board approved unanimously.

Kentucky is one of the states with a pure system of comparative negligence. That means that, if a party injured in a situation like this filed a lawsuit, that party could win a monetary award even if he or she was partially at fault for the accident. Many states have adopted a "modified comparative negligence" system where the injured party cannot collect if he or she is 50 percent or more at fault. However, in Kentucky, if the other party is even 10 percent at fault, the injured party can still collect an award, albeit in proportion to the other party's amount of fault.

Miller & Falkner is an Indiana and Kentucky plaintiffs law firm. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the firm provides representation in the areas of personal injury and employment law. If you need a Kentucky or Indiana personal injury attorney, contact us today for a free consultation.

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