Seventeen scholars from Strabrecht College in Geldrop were wounded on Thursday in a bus accident in France. The bus, transporting about 50 children from mavo 3, drove into the back of a truck.
The accident happened on the A16 in Northern France. The front of the bus was completed destroyed. The scholars were on a trip to London. According to the French Media, the truck was driving very slowly and the driver, apparently, fell asleep. The exact cause of the accident is still to be determined.
Twelve scholars and five supervisors were taken to hospital. The bus driver was seriously injured and was airlifted to hospital. Leenderd van der Deijl, the school’s headmaster, said several of the scholars were seriously wounded, but were not in critical condition.
All the scholars and two of the supervisors have since returned to the Netherlands, while the remaining three supervisors are still in hospital in Dunkirk. The bus driver is expected to be released on the weekend.
The accident has sparked a discussion about the safety of coaches. Can their safety be improved by all kinds of technologies or will this just make them more dangerous? Opinions are divided.
Maarten Steinbuch, a professor in Automotive Technology, said on Radio1, that he would like to see all coaches fitted with automatic braking systems. This technology does, however, have a downside. Gerard Tertoolen, who is a traffic psychologist, fears that drivers will not pay enough attention to the road if they lose part of the responsibility of driving.
Coach drivers are also divided over Steinbuch’s suggestion. One driver says it will be safer because everyone has lapses in concentration. Other drivers are afraid that they will have nothing to do if technology takes over. Another disadvantage of the so-called Adaptive Cruise Control is that the bus comes to a standstill in one second if it collides with another vehicle.
Photo: La Voix du Nord