JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – A school bus from Mapaville State School was involved in an accident Monday afternoon in Jefferson County.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol officers and deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office have responded to the accident on Highway Z at Persimmon Point Drive between Pevely and Mapaville.
Authorities say a total of six people were on the bus at the time of the accident. Four students between the ages of 12 and 18, one bus driver, and one attendant were taken to Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Crystal City for treatment to injuries that appear to be minor. All parents have been notified.
A statement from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says the driver of the school bus hit a slick spot on the road while driving students home, and was unable to regain control of the vehicle, causing it to flip on its side.
The bus is owned by First Student. Mapaville State School is run by the state of Missouri's Special School District.
All four students were buckled in and sitting in wheelchairs at the time of the accident. Seat belts are required on that type of bus, but most Missouri school buses don't have them. NewsChannel 5 wanted to know why, so we took that question to the experts.
In all 50 states half-size buses and vans have to have seat belts. It's the larger full size bus that most states still don't require seat belts.
Back in 2005 then-Gov. Matt Blunt created a school bus safety task force that recommended all school buses have seat belts, but the issue lost traction with lawmakers.
Here in Missouri, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says all buses have more protection because the seats are bigger, thicker and have more padding. Dr. Alan Ross with the National Coalition for School Bus Safety says that's not enough.
"The laws of physics apply regardless of how big the bus is and whether they paint it yellow, you could easily be protected, we are not talking rocket science, we are talking a safety belt," said Dr. Ross.
Opponents to seat belts in buses say it costs too much and it could reduce the capacity on bus.