According to the Transportation Research Council, each day more than 23 million children in the U.S. ride a school bus. Of that number, about 40 die and another 8,500 receive injuries in school bus related accidents.
Researchers say the majority of those accidents are preventable.
Although many different things can cause these accidents, parental supervision is one of the factors now at the forefront of concern in Meridian.
Wednesday, a five-year-old boy waiting for a school bus was hit by a slow moving car when trying to cross Highway 80 from Cedar Bend Apartments.
"There wasn't one parent, not one parent out here with these children!" said Shirley Gardner, the driver of the car.
According to officials with the state Department of Education, parents are primarily responsible for their children until they board the school bus. Although unfortunate, officials say unsupervised children along roadways is not a problem isolated to this area or particular circumstance."
"Children will be children! They've been darting out in front of people since only horses were used. You've just got to be careful when you're driving, especially during the holidays," said Detective Dean Harper with the Meridian Police Department.
Shirley Gardner says this is something she has learned from experience.
"It literally shook me up and I just thank God that I didn't hurt the child!" Gardner said.
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Source: www.nhtsa.dot.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Web site) contributed to this report.