The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has concerns about the safety of Baltimore students, when riding on school buses. On November 1, 2016, a crash involving a school bus and transit bus in southwest Baltimore claimed the life of 6 people, including the school bus driver.
The agency conducted an investigation of the November crash, which revealed that Glenn Chappell, the school bus driver, had been involved in an estimated 12 motor vehicle crashes in the past five years. According to Chappell’s medical history, he suffered from diabetes, hypertension and seizures, with one being reported just a week before the accident.
As a result of these findings, the agency made urgent recommendations of an independent audit of the Baltimore schools’ transportation department. A state mandate that would require schools to contact the agency, when a driver does not meet the required qualifications to operate a school bus during pre-employment screenings is also being recommended.
After the audit is complete, the school system will be required to take corrective action to ensure all school bus drivers are screened properly and meet the required qualifications.
The investigation report also identifies inadequacies and failure on the part of the city’s public school system. In 2011, Chappell was involved in a crash that left a teacher’s aide injured, the school system failed to evaluate his medical condition. The transportation department did not review or document his prior crashes.
Investigators wrote that the school system also failed to adequately maintain criminal background reports, crash costs documentations and maintain crash reports, nor do they utilize a drug-testing program that is compliant with federal standards.
Chappell was a bus driver for AAAffordable Transportation, a charter bus company that provides bus drivers to the Baltimore public school system. The report said the school system received 11 alerts from the Criminal Justice Information Service, regarding pending criminal charges against Chappell, but failed to keep them on file.