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Contact 13 investigates deadly school bus crash

Posted at 5:46 PM, May 04, 2017

To help keep your kids safe, Contact 13 is taking a closer look at school bus safety following Thursday's deadly collision

Over 130,000 kids ride Clark County school buses every day, and parents trust that their children are protected. The question many are asking now is how a small car can knock a giant bus off the road and flip it on its side. 

RELATED: School bus safety investigated

Contact 13 spoke with an accident reconstruction expert who's been watching our coverage of the wreck. 

Our expert says speed is a huge factor and points to the "dead space"  which comes with a higher frame vehicle. 

When the other car smashed into the bus, it probably wedged underneath in the dead space -- lifting that side of the bus while the curb acted as a "tripping" element on the other side.  

As for the students, the expert says while seatbelts are a good idea in just about every circumstance, most of the injured kids were most likely hurt by flying objects like backpacks.

School bus seatbelts were the subject of a Contact 13 Investigation last year. The federal government still doesn't require them -- instead relying on what's called "compartmentalization" where the large, high-back seats protect kids like eggs in a carton. 

But seatbelts on buses remains a hot topic, and Nevada state lawmakers aren't waiting for the feds. Just last week, they voted overwhelmingly to pass Assembly Bill 485 to mandate seatbelts in all Nevada school buses.

Thursday's deadly crash is a shock to many parents with children who ride school buses. 

A source close to the investigation tells 13 Action News that the crash scene is still a puzzle, but some elements are starting to come together. We've learned that the car tried to stop before impact. And that whoever's at fault is going to come down to who had the light. The car should have its own black box so investigators should be able to download specific crash data that will help as they continue piecing this together.

CCSD transports those 130,000 students on 1,600 routes.

So how safe is your precious cargo? That was the subject of a recent Contact 13 investigation.  

  • In January 2017, CCSD reported 64 school bus accidents before the month was over and that was the second highest monthly total in three years.  
  • There were 495 crashes in the previous school year. That's on par considering enrollment numbers. 
  • There were 464 accidents in the 2014/15 school year and 414 the year before. According to CCSD, just over half were determined to be the bus driver's fault. 

Contact 13 also uncovered the accident history of the intersection where today's crash occurred.  

According to Nevada's Department of Public Safety, there have already been four crashes at Carey and Nellis so far this year. 

The intersection saw 32 accidents in 2016.