In November, a devastating school bus crash left dozens of children injured and five dead in Chattanooga. As investigations continue into the causes of the accident, a look into the private company that owns the school bus involved in the accident has shown a safety record that leaves much to be desired.
Federal records show that, in the last 24 months, Durham School Services buses have been involved in 142 injury crashes and three fatalities. At least 36 of the injury crashes and one of the fatalities occurred in Tennessee. While Durham has an overall satisfactory safety record, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has said that 93 percent of motor carriers in the same safety event group have better on-road performance than this carrier.
Since December 2014, Durham has been the subject of eight driver violations. Seven of those incidents involved drivers who did not have the proper license to drive their vehicles. While the driver of the Chattanooga bus was licensed at the time of the crash, he has a record of driving violations, including a license suspension in 2014 and another bus accident in September of 2016.
Are Bus Companies Responsible for the Drivers They Hire?
Under the doctrine of negligent entrustment, bus companies can be held liable for bus accident injuries. Negligent entrustment occurs when an entrustor, in this case the bus company, provides the entrustee, or driver, with a dangerous instrument that is then used to cause injury to another party. Bus companies have a duty to ensure the safety of passengers, and hiring drivers with an easily discoverable history of reckless driving could lead to a claim against the company.
Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”