Parents entrust school bus drivers with their children's lives. Every single week day during the school year, millions of kids pile onto buses to ride to school and/or back home again. With this much at stake, are bus drivers held to a higher standard?
Experts say that they absolutely are held to very high standards. When asked, one transportation safety and compliance officer even went so far as to say that the standards at her school system were "ahead of the game." Evidently, an effort is being made.
These issues drew a lot of attention recently, after the tragic and deadly bus accidents of 2016. A dozen people were killed in two separate incidents. In 2014, four students were seriously hurt and 11 total were injured. While these incidents may not be common, the results can be devastating when they do happen.
Some of the rules have been updated, often relating to hiring. The goal is to spend a lot more time looking at the health histories of the drivers, their skill levels, and their backgrounds. While a lot of checks are already in place, alterations could make it harder to become a bus driver. The school official who said her standards were so high noted that they even carried out random drug tests.
Some have said that these rules could make it harder to find enough people to drive buses. However, one official noted that it would be better to have to work around a driver shortage than to put dangerous drivers behind the wheel.
Clearly, there is at least an understanding of the standards that need to be used and how critical it is for school bus drivers to be safe, careful and responsible. However, these tragic events also show that serious accidents still do happen. When children are hurt or killed, parents need to know their legal options.
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