The video of a school bus full of children attempting to cross multiple lanes of traffic is readily available online. The incident occurred in New Jersey on May 17th, 2018, during a field trip. The driver had missed an exit, and rather than let GPS determine an alternate route, he attempted to quickly change course. The decision was disastrous, resulting in an accident that left 40 injured and two people dead.
Initial reports indicated the driver was 77-years-old, prompting some in the community to question the school district’s hiring practices. But as more information came to light, advanced age became the least of the concerns. The driver had a long history of driving infractions and license suspensions, including:
- 14 license suspensions for various reasons, including failure to obtain insurance, parking tickets, and excessive speed
- 8 speeding tickets
- 1 ticket for careless driving
Despite this clear history of dangerous driving, the driver was somehow able to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. Even with a CDL, a check of his driving record by the District should have noted the significant red flags indicating that the driver had a history of reckless driving that might make him unsuited for driving a bus full of children.
Determining the hiring requirements for bus drivers in various school districts can be difficult. Yet these drivers are being entrusted with extremely important cargo on a daily basis. If your child has been injured or killed in a school bus accident, it is important the district be held responsible for the drivers they hired. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case, so that a full investigation into hiring practices and other policies can be conducted.