Tennessee School Bus Crash Could Make Operator Liable

A recent school bus crash in the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee that resulted in the deaths of at least six children and injuries to nearly two dozen more has led to a number of embarrassing headaches for the bus’s operating company.

Durham School Services is one of the nation’s biggest school bus operators, with a fleet of more than 13,000 vehicles and over 13,000 drivers operating in nearly every state, including here in Virginia. However, despite having what is considered to be a “satisfactory” safety rating with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the records show that Durham’s record is worse than 93% of other operators in the same safety group.

In the past 24 months alone, Durham has been involved in 346 crashes, over 200 of which required the vehicle to be towed away.

Hiring Process for Drivers

One of the biggest things that has fallen under scrutiny has been Durham’s driver hiring process. Durham states on their website that all drivers undergo a stringent selection process, including a full criminal background check, extensive interview process, and drug testing.

However, Durham has been cited for eight driver violations since December of 2014 according to FMCSA records. Seven of those eight violations were for the driver not even possessing the appropriate license for operating a school bus.

Durham’s Liability

Durham School Services will likely be held liable for the injuries and wrongful deaths in this crash. Law enforcement stated that speed was being “Investigated very, very strongly as a factor in this crash.” This most likely means that negligence of the driver will be considered the primary cause of the accident. The driver has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and vehicular homicide.

Durham is responsible for the drivers who operate their vehicles in order to ensure the safety of its riders. The driver of this vehicle, despite a clean criminal history, did already have an accident on his record with the company, and yet Durham opted to put him back behind the wheel. As a result of this, combined with his actions, it is highly likely that Durham will assume liability and face potentially devastating lawsuits.

If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident, including a school bus accident, it is important that you seek legal representation from a Lynchburg personal injury attorney. Our team at Randall J. Trost, P.C. has the experience of hundreds of cases since opening our doors in 1982. We are not afraid to take your trial as far as necessary in order to secure the compensation you are entitled to, including to a full jury trial. We proudly work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us anything unless we are successful in recovering on your behalf.

Call Randall J. Trost, P.C. today at (434) 738-2300 to receive a free initial consultation!