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More and More School Bus Drivers are Found Lacking

Posted on: August 23, 2017 by Edwards & Patterson Law

school bus drivers

In order to work as a school bus driver, candidates for the role must hold a commercial driving license. However, unlike their big truck-driving counterparts, you may be shocked to discover that school bus drivers are not necessarily subject to the same federal regulations.

Many school bus drivers currently in the system were hired despite the fact that they suffer from medical issues that would disqualify them from driving a heavy goods vehicle. Additionally, having a criminal background is not necessarily grounds for disqualification, either.

In a disturbing report, it was revealed that 60 school bus drivers a day are involved in accidents while at work. Other common incidents involving school bus drivers include DUIs, charges related to child pornography, or sexual assault on a child under their care.

Ronaldo Vega, a man who had been arrested on suspicion of child abuse, kept his job and went on to assault another child a year later. The disabled child was subjected to a number of sexual assaults before Vega was caught. Although Vega pleaded guilty to assaulting the child, the charges were later dropped.

In another case, 35-year-old Alexander Rodriguez received a four-year suspended sentence, followed by 10 years probation. Rodriguez was able to sexually assault a 15-year-old girl despite having been previously charged for weapon and drug possession in a school zone.

While school districts have the means to perform background checks (and regularly do), there is another issue at play. A shortage of drivers has resulted in school districts turning to sites like Craigslist to find qualified drivers. It is no wonder, then, that more school bus drivers are found lacking.

However, the school district still has an obligation to keep your kids safe. If your child is injured or assaulted due to a hiring choice made by the school, you may have a case for holding the school to account. With that said, the school cannot be held responsible in all cases.

The duty of care that the school and school district has to your child is not without limits. If the school has taken reasonable measures to ensure your child’s safety, yet an accident still happens, there may not be a case to answer.

It must be shown that the school district acted negligently before you have a case. Cases such as those involving bus drivers Vega and Rodriguez are examples where the school districts likely could have prevented injury to a child.

Launching a lawsuit against the responsible organization is not all about compensation, either. Such cases have a history of influencing the law. Through the action of fighting for your child, you may just play a large part in protecting future generations by forcing school authorities to tighten their hiring policies.

If your child has been involved in an incident where a school bus driver caused injury or committed an assault on his or her person, you should seek legal representation immediately. Edwards & Patterson can represent your interests and help you ensure your children are able to travel to and from school in a safe environment.

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