NTSB wants Baltimore to tighten school bus driver qualifications
Bus driver in fatal crash had history of seizures
Photo above: The final positions of the transit bus and school bus. The school bus first struck a passenger vehicle before crossing the center lane and colliding with the transit bus. (Photo courtesy of: Maryland Transportation Authority Police)
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued an urgent safety recommendation to Baltimore City Public Schools requesting that the Maryland State Department of Education have an independent and neutral third party conduct a performance audit of the Baltimore City Public Schools’ transportation department. The urgent recommendation was accompanied by a second safety recommendation seeking corrective action to improve internal controls to ensure that all school bus drivers meet qualification standards and do not pose any safety risks.
Those actions come in the wake of a Nov. 1, 2016 collision between a school bus and a Maryland Transit Administration bus that killed six people and injured 11 others – a crash still under investigation by the NTSB. His school bus rear-ended a car, veered into oncoming traffic, then crashed into a MTA bus.
The driver of the school bus, 67-year-old Glenn Chappell, had been involved in a dozen accidents in the five years prior to the November incident and had suffered from seizures during a number of those accidents, according to the NTSB. News sources report that his employer, AAAfordable Transportation, was aware of medical emergency he had just one week before the crash. The company’s contract to provide transportation to special education students has since been terminated by Baltimore Public Schools.
Chappell was killed in the collision, along with the driver of and four passengers on the MTA bus
News reports indicate that Chappell’s commercial drivers license was revoked several months before the Nov. 1 accident by the state Motor Vehicle Administration because he failed to provide the agency with the necessary health certificate.
A third recommendation, issued to the Maryland State Department of Education, seeks modification of the Code of Maryland Regulations to require that notice be made to the department of all drivers found not qualified during pre-employment screening and to clarify certain terms used in the code.
The full safety recommendation report, including information on the accident sequence, is available online at https://go.usa.gov/xX78r.