Fatal accidents in the state of Texas are becoming more and more common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, less than one-half percent of traffic deaths are connected to school bus accidents. However, bus accidents can occur unexpectedly, even with proper safety precautions. A school bus crash in Mount Pleasant recently sent 30 students and their driver to the hospital. The accident occurred despite annual bus inspections and an experienced driver with no past history wrecks.
Many Texas districts have high hiring standards for their school bus drivers and conduct not only the required annual state inspections of their buses, but more frequent inspections, as well. Commercial vehicles in Texas must be inspected at least once each year.
In Texas, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for a person to drive a school bus. First, the driver must obtain a Class-B commercial driving license by taking a knowledge test and road test. Next, the driver must complete safety certification training by attending a 20-hour session about how the buses work and how to handle the students. The driver must also attend an eight-hour refresher course every three years. Different districts in the state have additional requirements. In East Texas school districts, no driver is permitted to use cell phones while driving.
If a bus driver is negligent in causing an accident, he may be held liable if the court determines that he is at fault for the accident. A bus driver who drives while distracted or drives without the proper licensing may be considered negligent. If he is found liable, he will owe damages to the injured parties in the accident.
Source: Longview News Journal, “East Texas school districts put emphasis on bus safety,” Richard Yeakley, Aug. 30, 2012