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Lawmakers want to remove minors' information in bus crash reports

In most circumstances, whenever there is a serious wreck, the accident report is a matter of public record. However, two Ohio lawmakers are seeking to modify that policy in regard to minor children who are victims of a bus crash. They believe that the names of minors should be withheld from public disclosure.

According to state records, from 2012 to 2016, there were more than 6,600 school bus crashes that caused 16 fatalities and approximately 2,317 injuries. How many of those 16 deaths were minors was not reported. Currently, police reports contain the names, ages, addresses and contact information for anyone who is involved in these accidents.

The legislators say they want the law changed in order to protect the identity of minors. Doing so, it is argued, could head off possible theft and fraud schemes. There was no information provided that could demonstrate whether this information has left children vulnerable to fraud. Journalists often use the accident reports in order to ensure detailed and accurate reporting. It was pointed out that, in many instances, the children's personal information is already spread via social media sites within a short time after these wrecks.

It remains to be seen if the efforts of these Ohio congressmen will be successful. It is important to protect the privacy of those who have suffered injuries; but for those who have been injured in a bus crash or similar circumstances, it is the right of the injured parties -- or their legal guardians if a minor is involved -- to secure the services of a personal injury attorney to ensure that their interests are protected. The attorney will then work to obtain all relevant information, particularly with respect to any claims for liability. Successful litigation may result in monetary compensation that can help eliminate any financial damages the victims have sustained.

Source: daytondailynews.com, "School bus crash reports may redact kids' names, bill says", Laura A. Bischoff, March 28, 2017

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