Criminal Charges and Past Driving Problems in Carroll County School Bus Accidents
This month has not been a good one for Carroll County school bus drivers. There have been two separate school bus accidents in less than a month, with a least one fatality and several people hospitalized. Criminal charges, past accidents and a problematic past driving history hang like a dark cloud over the school district.
The most troubling information relates to an October 4th school bus crash where a bus overturned causing the death of a 17 year old student. Significant information has come out suggesting that the school district may have had information in the bus driver's personnel file that should have put them on notice that it was not safe to entrust him with students' safety. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we represent those seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes in the greater Atlanta area and throughout the State of Georgia.
While it is certainly concerning that two bus accidents occurred within the same county within a month, it is much more troubling that there may have been warning signs that were ignored. The driver involved in the school bus rollover accident, who was a trainee, had been involved in two prior accidents. The driver collided with another bus while trying to park less than two weeks before the tragic death of the Carroll County student. In a prior incident, the driver was involved in an accident where he ran over a dog. Information from the driver's personnel record has been disclosed that indicates that he had a number of issues with his driving including:
- Veering out of his lane and crossing into the other lane
- Abrupt stopping
- Inappropriate speed
Ironically, the driver's trainer indicated in the records that the driver had struggled with keeping the school bus in its lane on the very road where the accident occurred. This information suggests that school officials may have known or should have known that using this driver was putting school children and other drivers at risk. This information is only compounded by the fact that criminal charges are pending in the other Carroll County school bus accident last week. No school children were injured in that accident but the occupants of the truck that collided with the school bus were injured, though not seriously.
Both school bus accidents are under investigation so it is still early to assess fault. However, the school district could face significant liability if it turns out that they knew or that they should reasonably have known that the school bus driver lacked the appropriate training and experience to safely transport the school children. Much of the driver's personnel file has not been disclosed so there will also be questions about whether the school district was negligent in hiring the trainee. If the school board turns out to have been negligent in its hiring, training or supervising of the driver, the school district may be liable for the injuries and tragic death. The criminal charges in the other Carroll County bus accident may also be a basis for liability if the driver violated traffic safety laws.
The knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, have been helping motor vehicle accident victims including those injured in busing accidents throughout the State of Georgia for over 25 years. Call Montlick & Associates today to see how our Atlanta and Georgia school bus accident lawyers can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.