WJTV News Channel 12 - 3 school bus crashes this week in Central Mississippi

3 school bus crashes this week in Central Mississippi

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19 students are killed every year in school bus crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Administration says an average of six die on-board, and 13 are pedestrians.

Central Mississippi school buses have been involved in three traffic accidents this week.

Tuesday evening, 59-year-old Harold Nash was killed in a head-on collision with a school bus in Rankin County. His wife was taken to the hospital. She'll survive the crash. The bus ended up on its side. No students were on board.

Also Tuesday, there was a school bus crash in Copiah County. Students were on board for the fender-bender at the intersection of Hotel Street and East Railroad in the town of Wesson.  No injuries were reported.

And Wednesday morning, a vehicle rear-ended a Clinton school bus. Three students were shaken up and taken to the hospital. It's an eye-opener for Clinton school officials and an opportunity to remind motorists of the law.

"Mississippi law says you need to stop, and you shall stop," says Superintendent Dr. Phillip Burchfield.

Perlie Mae Smith spent 16 years behind the wheel of a Jackson Public Schools bus. She knows all about bus safety.

"They're safe if everybody drives like they should," she tells us.

Smith says if students behave, the bus is a whole lot easier to drive.

"They need to sit on the bus and don't be loud, talk loud, so the bus driver could watch the road, not get distracted from the road," she says.

Dr. Birchfield says his district doesn't accept careless bus drivers.

"Texting, using their cell phones while they're driving are things that we feel like are unacceptable," he says.

Dr. Birchfield says Clinton school bus drivers are trained and tested each summer before the new school year.

State lawmakers have tried to make bus safety a top priority. In 2011, they passed Nathan's Law, which increases penalties for passing a stopped school bus.

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