Get the facts straight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Before members of the media get worked into a frenzy over a tragic situation, in this case a three-bus collision, let us get our facts straight.

Instead, more often than not, we start playing the blame game.

The bus-collision happened last week on Interstate 65 near the intersection of Interstate 459.

Students from Thompson Middle School in Alabaster were on their way home from a field trip to the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center.

Police reported that bumper-to-bumper, rush-hour traffic contributed to the three buses colliding with one another in a chain reaction-type crash.

Most media outlets had that much right. But one simple fact was overlooked.

The buses, reported as &uot;Shelby County school buses,&uot; were not owned by the Shelby County Board of Education.

They were chartered buses owned by the Space and Rocket Center &045; a fact left out of many discussions by the local news media.

When word spread about the accident, parents were led to believe the problem came from local school bus drivers who were not properly trained and buses which were not safe.

It has been made clear that Shelby County’s school bus drivers are trained, safe drivers. The buses are properly maintained and pass regular inspections.

School officials report no serious accidents of the more than 2,000 trips taken by students every year.

That is a fact, and it’s a lesson to all of us to get our facts straight before jumping to misinformed conclusions