County Schools Refuse To Address Questions Regarding Accident
As was reported here on March 17, 2009, two school buses from Anne Arundel County were involved in a collision where one bus rear ended the other which was stopped to make a turn from Beard’s Creek onto Riva Road. There were no serious injuries and mostly two buses of upset students.
After the students were interviewed by police, two replacement buses were brought to the scene to transport the students home. Amazingly, the driver who rear-ended the stopped bus was allowed to drive the replacement bus and complete his rounds. And indeed, the same driver picked up the students the morning of March 18, 2009.
On the afternoon of the 17th, Bob Mosier, the spokesperson for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools was contacted and asked about the policy for drivers involved in accidents and specifically the district’s drug testing policy. He responded almost immediately and said that Christopher Carter, Supervisor of the Transportation Division would respond the following day(3/18/2009). When no response was received by late afternoon, we re-emailed Bob and asked if anyone was going to respond. Finally, Christopher Carter did respond at 4:57pm.
Chris explained that the district will allow the drivers to continue on their routes and not require any drug or alcohol testing after an accident as long as:
- The police did not cite the driver
- There were no serious injuries
- The vehicles are able to be driven from the scene
- There are no fatalities
When asked for further clarification, the subsequent email was ignored.
The three main issues are
- The driver who ran into the stopped bus is known to the students to be a bit reckless in his driving.
- The layout of the intersection is such that it is hard to miss a stopped vehicle–much less one that is 50′ long and painted Federal Safety Yellow.
- The police did not issue a citation. Why not? How many people can avoid a ticket after hitting a stopped school bus?
Maryland law states that you must be in control of your vehicle. This driver was not–and then the school district allowed him to continue on.
There is no reason to suspect that the driver was on drugs or under the influence of alcohol; however it seems to be a prudent measure to eliminate that as a cause immediately. If he was under the influence, is the school district giving him a “pass” because there were no serious injuries, no tow truck, no ticket, and no hearse? Parents would like to know; and they are deserving of an answer. But apparently, the school district feels otherwise.
The district got lucky this time–there were no serious injuries and the buses were able to be driven from the scene. And perhaps the good old boy network kicked in with the police as well.
For the safety of the children they are charges with transporting. all school bus drivers involved in any accident should be tested immediately and not allowed to return to work until they are cleared. This is not unreasonable, and it is a common sense policy. What are your thoughts? Was this handled properly? Comments please!