The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers school buses the safest form of transportation for school children. In fact, the federal agency asserts that students are 70 times more likely to get to school safely by taking a school bus instead of a car.
School bus crashes rarely happen, due to the high expectations and standards set for school bus drivers. School bus drivers do engage in outright reckless behavior on some occasions, however.
Impaired school bus drivers pose a risk to children
In 2019, a Texas school bus driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Police pulled her over due to erratic driving and failed a field sobriety test. She driving drunk and blamed her behavior on a "bad donut" that made her sick. Luckily, nobody was injured due to her behavior.
According to a study by nonprofit reporting agency Stateline, bus drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs have endangered more than 1,620 children since 2015 in the United States. Police stopped and arrested at least 118 impaired school bus drivers during that time. More than a third of these arrests were due to school bus collisions that injured nearly three dozen children.
Stateline also found that state and federal officials aren't doing enough to track arrests and crashes involving impaired school bus drivers. In addition, school bus drivers who fail random drug or alcohol tests are being tracked. Stateline has found that since 2015, there have been at least 260 school bus drivers who have failed drug or alcohol tests or refused to take them.
What should state and federal officials do?
The Stateline study recently caught the attention of the National Safety Council and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Both agencies are urging federal and state officials to employ stricter regulations on school bus drivers. This includes:
- Installing alcohol detection devices in all school buses
- Prohibiting alcohol consumption within eight hours of operating a school bus
- Encouraging school districts to employ "drug-free-workplace" policies
- Training school staff to recognize signs of alcohol or drug impairment
- Requiring all school bus drivers suspected of driving impaired to undergo testing
- Encouraging states to begin collecting data on school bus drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs
Texas school bus drivers have a duty to uphold. They must ensure that our children are transported to and from school safely. If your child sustained an injury because a school bus driver failed to uphold that duty, it's critical that you take legal action. Texas attorney Coby L. Wooten has been handling cases like yours for more than two decades. He knows how to investigate school bus crashes and help families pursue the justice they deserve.
To schedule your free case evaluation, contact Coby L. Wooten, Attorney At Law, P.C. online or call our Fort Worth office at 817-632-8400.