TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – After something as tragic as the Chattanooga, Tennessee school bus crash that killed multiple children, it’s easy for parents to question just how safe schools buses are and the people driving them.
The driver was an employee of Durham School Services, the same company that drives students of multiple Kansas school districts.
School districts are public but some hire private busing companies, so they don’t have to share driver information.
We’ve previously reported that for every five applicants Durham gets, one driver passes the screening process.
“With regard to information about drivers, whether you’re contracted or whether you’re through a school district, those are personal records.” says Denise Kahler with the Kansas State Department of Education. “And as such, those are confidential.”
Many of the screening requirements are both state and federally regulated and there is currently no public database to look up who drives students to school.
As for making sure your child gets home safe, some districts have adjusted. Last year 22 children were hurt when a Hiawatha school bus crashed. The Kansas Highway Patrol said that the driver failed to stop at an intersection and then lost control while turning onto US 73. After the crash, the district developed a check-in and check-out system so parents can track when their child arrived at their stop.
And some federal laws require drivers to know basic first aid.
“I think it’s very important to remember that when you put that into context, of a parent driving or a teen driving, school buses are by far the most safe mode of transportation for our children,” says Kahler.