There has to be a serious problem when news media do not inform the public that a fire involving two loaded school buses was a primary concern, not why the collision occurred. (Photo by Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press )

Magicians know the trick very well. You grab the attention of the audience by making them look in your left hand, while you do the important things that matter with your right hand. Maybe it’s called sleight of hand, but it should have no purpose in professional journalism. This is why it should be of great concern when it is used to distract readers/viewers with respect to a collision of two school buses that reportedly occurred on the morning of July 23, 2019 in Saint-Eustache, Quebec.

The official story is that a vehicle came to a sudden stop and the two school buses following it collided with it. This would appear to be a typical rear-end impact. The fact that the two school buses were loaded with about 50 children from ages 7 to 12 seemed to be of little importance when it was reported that both buses caught fire. Rather than being concerned about why the fire occurred the more important issue seemed to be why the collision occurred, as it was judged to be due to distraction. While all the children reportedly escaped the buses with minor consequences, the situation could have been much worse. What if the children could not escape? Would it not be important for someone to ask why a fire should commence from a relatively minor rear-end collision of two school buses?

Federal motor vehicle safety standards have existed for decades because society has understood that vehicles need to be manufactured in a manner that reduces the potential for injury and death. That does not just mean that we protect them from the crash itself and forget about everything else. Clearly death is no less deadly whether it occurs during a severe crash or during a severe, post-impact fire. This is why safety standards exist to reduce the likelihood that a fire would develop following a collision. It makes no sense to do everything one can to save the occupant from a crash and then allow the occupant to die from a subsequent fire without any intervention. But that would seem to be the logic when the 50 children from this seemingly minor collision were exposed to the possibility of being trapped in a raging, post-impact fire.