Ambulance (file / credit: County, NC- A school bus carrying 12 students was struck by a tractor-trailer early this morning, causing injury to eleven students and sending both the truck and bus driver

Authorities say the accident occurred just after 7 a.m. this morning at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Uzzle Industrial Blvd. as the bus was taking students to Smithfield Middle School.

The bus slowed to pick up a student and was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer.  After striking the bus, the tractor-trailer continued to roll down the highway eventually coming to a stop. The front of the tractor was caved in, but only a corner of the bus was damaged.

Surveillance footage from a nearby business, obtained by WTVD- TV, showed very foggy conditions at the time of the accident. WTVD-TV reported that the only the blinking lights of the bus can be seen prior to impact.

Five students were taken to the hospital for treatment, and fortunately, the majority of the injuries were not life-threatening. By noon the majority of the students were released from the hospital.

Both the driver of the bus and the driver of the truck were taken to the hospital, as well. The truck driver was critically injured.

Police have not said what the cause of the accident was or whether either driver will be cited.

This accident is an example of how hazardous road conditions can quickly create a situation where an accident occurred. Even the most experienced truck driver can find themselves in danger when road conditions deteriorate.

Inclement weather and hazardous road conditions do not excuse a driver from liability if they cause an accident. This is the same for the drivers of passenger vehicles. Foggy conditions can significantly reduce a driver’s visibility. All drivers, whether they are in a commercial vehicle or an automobile, have the responsibility to take into account driving conditions and adjust their speed and distance from other vehicles accordingly.

Fortunately, this accident was not nearly as bad as it could have been; at least one percent of truck accidents end in at least one fatality, typically to the occupants of a passenger vehicle. That isn’t to say truck drivers are not victims of fatal or injurious accidents, thousands die every year in traffic accidents.

When the cause of a truck accident can be directly attributed to the reckless or careless actions of a truck driver, the victim has the right to seek compensation. By retaining a truck accident attorney, injury victims or families who have lost a loved one can increase their chances of receiving a fair and just settlement that covers their accident costs and emotional suffering.

A truck accident attorney knows how to conduct a thorough investigation and determine which parties are responsible for their injuries. An attorney like Melocowsky & Melocowsky in Hartford is capable of negotiating with insurers or taking a personal injury case to court; they will do whatever it takes to make certain your rights are respected and you get the compensation you deserve.