Establishing Responsibility for Fatal 2016 Bus AccidentApril 27, 2018
In November 2016, a Baltimore school bus crashed into an MTA bus, fatally injuring six and injuring dozens more. A federal investigation revealed that the school bus driver had a history of seizures, which should have prevented him from being hired in the first place. While the school district claims that they have implemented additional safety protocols since the accident, officials from School Bus Consultants, a Missouri-based auditing firm, say that no changes were made to the organizational structure or operating practices. They also claim that a systemic lack of leadership is ultimately to blame for the tragic accident.
According to the audit, the Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) did not have the appropriate hiring systems, and background checks, in place to prevent an individual with a serious medical condition from being hired. In fact, not only did the driver have a disqualifying medical condition, but he had a history of moving from job to job, never staying in one position for an extended period of time before being hired by BCPS. This accumulation of errors, and the poor leadership within the organization, is what lead to this fatal bus accident according to the audit.
Consultants who conducted the audit were also critical of the BCPS and their lack of any clear management plan when it came to the contractual requirements of vendors. Too often, vendors did not meet the expectations that were documented in their contract. The lack of formal compliance programs led to lapses in detailed record-keeping, compliance, and ultimately tragic accidents like the fatal bus crash.
School Officials Fight Back
In a written statement, a BCPS spokesperson said that the district conducted a thorough review of their safety protocols, and implemented additional steps, to make sure that all drivers meet the necessary requirements to operate a bus. This includes drivers that are employed by contracted transportation providers. The district has also hired a new director of pupil transportation, and has updated its procedures to reflect current industry standards.
Consultants conducting the audit argue that the district’s use of technology is also deficient. For example, rather than using routing software, GPS tracking, and video monitoring, the district has been using electronic spreadsheets and paper files. This is an ineffective and inefficient way to manage the transportation operations, according to the auditors.
The school district says that they will be updating the GPS technology in all buses, to be able to record which students are on the bus at any point in the day. BCPS also recognizes the fact that there is always room to improve the services it provides, particularly when it comes to safety.
Baltimore Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Traffic Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident involving a bus or any other motor vehicle, contact the Baltimore accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Car accidents can be extremely stressful and traumatic, particularly when there are injuries involved. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and determine who is responsible for your injuries. Our dedicated team will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.