Blog

 
     

Bus Driver Background Checks in the News after Chattanooga Crash

By Michael Klazema on 12/11/2016
Parents in Tennessee and throughout the nation are questioning the processes for screening, monitoring, and disciplining school bus drivers following a fatal incident in Chattanooga last week. 24-year-old bus driver Johnthony Walker crashed his bus into a tree with 39 children onboard. Six of the kids died. Dozens of others were injured. Walker survived the crash but is facing charges of vehicular homicide, reckless driving, and reckless endangerment.


Durham Bus Services first hired Walker to drive school buses in Chattanooga. Per coverage, the company is responsible for school busing throughout the area and in areas across the country, such as Huntsville, Alabama. A report from WTVM—an ABC affiliate news station based in Huntsville—noted that Durham Bus Services takes multiple precautions to ensure safe and trustworthy drivers. These include state and FBI background checks, driving history checks, drug tests, training, tests, and a requirement for every driver to hold a commercial driver's license.


Walker supposedly completed these steps. As reports have explained, he had no criminal record that might have predicted the incident. However, per a CNN report, there had been concerns voiced about Walker. A principal had criticized Walker's driving, and at least one parent had written to the district to lodge a formal complaint. The children on the bus had also complained that Walker had sworn at them and tried to injure them with his driving.


The circumstances of the crash point to a purposeful collision, coverage has noted. Walker had no drugs or alcohol in his bloodstream at the time of the crash, and he was driving "on an unapproved bus route" and "well over the speed limit" when the crash occurred. CNN did not specify his speed but noted that the bus was traveling fast enough to bend in half and wrap around the tree in the moments following the impact.


These factors, combined with the fact that Walker was involved in an accident two months ago, have caused parents and teachers alike to question why he could drive. The WTVM report seems to suggest that there isn't enough contact between district representatives and Durham Bus Services. One teacher interviewed by the news station said that her district had experienced "many problems with Durham," as teachers and principals knew next to nothing about the company's contracted drivers.


WTVM also looked at Durham's overall record, noting that the company has had 346 crashes in the past two years. The company is nationwide and employs more than 13,000 drivers.


Sources:

http://www.wtvm.com/story/33776122/durham-school-services-involved-in-346-crashes-in-last-2-years

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/28/us/chattanooga-bus-driver-allegations/

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • January 15 A viral news story at The Cleveland Clinic has reignited the debate over social media background checks. The hospital recently fired a medical resident with a history of anti-Semitic tweets.
  • January 10 To remain a competitive employment option for retail workers, Best Buy will begin offering childcare options for parents. 
  • January 07 The rise of the "gig economy" was rapid, and questions about safety for users of these new services grew along with the industry. Background check policies in the gig economy can be unclear or unevenly applied, leading to barriers for some seeking jobs.
  • January 04 A new service that offers background checks for babysitters has come under fire for racial bias, invasion of privacy, and non-compliance with FCRA requirements. Predictim has paused its launch due to controversy.
  • December 20 Trust between patient and practitioner is a critical part of a strong healthcare system. An investigation uncovered hundreds of doctors practicing in new locations after giving up their licenses following serious mistakes.
  • December 13

    As the food truck fad proves it has staying power, many local governments have looked for ways to protect their communities without constraining economic activity. The effort to strike the right balance is ongoing.


  • December 11 The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General criticized a migrant youth detention center on the border for not running the proper background checks. Federal law requires the facility to screen all employees with FBI fingerprint checks.
  • December 11 What are education verification checks and why are they important? We look at why and how employers confirm the education histories of the people they hire.
  • December 06 In a bid to combat money laundering and illicit funding sources for terrorists flowing through the country's real estate sector, Singapore's government now mandates background checks for buyers purchasing properties prior to development.
  • December 04 What is a reference check? How does it vary from a work history check? We explore these questions and others.