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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-17-015
Details
Synopsis: About 6:30 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, a 2015 IC 64-passenger school bus was traveling east in the 4000 block of Frederick Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland. The school bus, operated by the motor carrier AAAfordable Transportation, was occupied by a 67-year-old driver and an adult teacher aide. No students were on the bus at the time. After the school bus traveled through the intersection of Frederick Avenue and South Loudon Avenue, it struck the rear of a 2012 Ford Mustang passenger car, which was also traveling east on Frederick Avenue. After striking the Ford Mustang, the school bus continued traveling east on Frederick Avenue, crossed through the center turn lane, and entered the westbound travel lane, where it collided with the left side of a 2005 New Flyer transit bus operated by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). The transit bus was occupied by a 33-year-old driver and 13 passengers. As a result of the crash, the drivers of both buses and four transit bus passengers died. Seven transit bus passengers were seriously injured. Two transit bus passengers and the teacher aide on the school bus sustained minor injuries. The driver of the Ford Mustang also sustained minor injuries. Preliminary information suggests that neither bus driver was using a cell phone at the time of the crash. Both bus drivers had been driving for less than 3 hours when the crash occurred. Postcrash mechanical inspections of both buses identified no mechanical defects.
Recommendation: TO THE MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: Review and modify the Code of Maryland Regulations section 13A.06.07.07, “School Vehicle Driver Disqualifying Conditions and Termination,” to clarify the definitions of disqualifying conditions, and to require notification to the Maryland State Department of Education of all drivers who are determined to be not qualified during pre-employment screening.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Baltimore, MD, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY17MH007
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: Highway HWY17MH007Safety Recommendation Report: Shortcomings of Driver Qualification Processes for Baltimore City Public Schools and of the Disqualified Driver Database for All Maryland School Districts
Report #: HSR-17-02
Accident Date: 11/1/2016
Issue Date: 4/11/2017
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Maryland, Department of Education (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Department of Education
Date: 1/3/2018
Response: We are pleased that the revised disqualifying conditions definitions and notification requirement language were published for public comment. We look forward to receiving further updates regarding your work toward implementing this recommendation, including your planned updates to forms and training. Until such action is complete, Safety Recommendation H-17-15 remains classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: State of Maryland, Department of Education
To: NTSB
Date: 10/6/2017
Response: -From Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools: The following provides an update on the Maryland State Department of Education's (MSDEs) action regarding Safety Recommendation (H-17-15) which was issued as a result of the March 29, 2017, safety recommendations report which focused on the shortcomings of driver qualifications for Baltimore City Public Schools and of the disqualified drivers' database for all Maryland school districts. As a result of the safety report findings, the MSDE provided the following recommendations to the Maryland State Board of Education for approval on August 22, 2017. 1) Adding new amendments to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), Student Transportation, specifically, Sections 13A.06.07.01-.10, to include the definition of "School Vehicle Driver" and School Vehicle Driver Trainee" to capture individuals or "an entity contracting with a local school system or seeking MSDE required certification as a school vehicle driver at a local school system." 2) Defining the terms Insubordination, Misfeasance, Property Damage, and Unsafe Actions under COMAR 13A.06.07.0l, Definitions. 3) Replacing the terms individual, employee, and applicant with the term "school vehicle driver and/or trainee" to provide consistency throughout .06-.10. In addition, the term "Trainee" was added to the title of .07 School Vehicle Driver and Trainee Disqualifying Conditions and Termination. 4) Referencing the criminal disqualification of "a crime of violence" to Criminal Law Article § 14-101, to allow for consistency throughout COMAR 13A.06.07. 5) Including "assault in the second degree" as a disqualification factor and referenced to Criminal Law Article §3-203. 6) Changing the option of completing only one of the required actions to be a school vehicle driver under COMAR 13A.06.07.06(B)(l) by making all actions mandatory. These recommended changes have been published for public comment. We welcome any comments you may have regarding these recommendations. Once the regulation changes are approved by the Maryland State Board of Education, the MSDE will setup a meeting with the 24 Local School System Transportation Supervisors and provide training on new additions to the regulations. The training will be provided in the spring, at the semi-annual pupil transportation conference. Special attention will be geared towards local school systems understanding when a school vehicle driver or trainee (as well as a school vehicle attendant, trainee, and taxi driver) report should be submitted to the MSDE for inclusion in the disqualified driver database. In conjunction with the aforementioned proposed recommendations, the MSDE "Confidential Driver Disqualification Form" will be updated to coincide with proposed regulation changes once changes have been approved by the Maryland State Board of Education. The form will be used as an ongoing training tool to assist local school systems with driver disqualification standards. Student Safety continues to be our highest priority. The MSDE staff is committed to working with local school systems to implement processes and procedures that ensure the safe transportation of all our students.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Department of Education
Date: 8/23/2017
Response: We note that you are working with the Maryland directors of pupil transportation to revise the disqualifying conditions definitions and notification requirement language, as recommended. In addition, we are encouraged by your plans to provide statewide training over the next year to clarify the driver qualification process. We look forward to receiving further updates regarding your work toward implementing this recommendation. Until such action is complete, Safety Recommendation H-17-15 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: State of Maryland, Department of Education
To: NTSB
Date: 6/22/2017
Response: -From Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools: The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has received information on safety recommendations being issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) related to report NTSB/HSR-17/02. The MSDE appreciates the thorough and comprehensive investigation of the NTSB related to the tragic accident of a Baltimore City Public Schools school bus, MT A bus and private vehicle on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. The MSDE is currently reviewing the Code of Maryland Regulations section 13A.06.07.07, "School Vehicle Driver Disqualifying Conditions and Termination," to clarify the definitions of disqualifying conditions and reporting by local school systems to MSDE all drivers identified to be not qualified during pre-employment screening. The MSDE has presented the NTSB Report to all of the Directors of Pupil Transportation for the State of Maryland. Directors were advised that a task force would be convened to clarify the needed changes and to allow input from local school systems regarding the needed changes. Definitions and clarifications to terms were gathered by this Task Force and provided to the Maryland Attorney General's Office. MSDE is moving forward with changes to COMAR 13A.06.07.07, "School Vehicle Driver Disqualifying Conditions and Termination" as well as clarifying definitions to terms not found under 13A.06.07.0l "Definitions". These recommended changes will be brought before the State Board of Education in their July meeting and will move through the three step process for publication and adoption. Training will be held throughout the state over the next year to provide clarification on when an Individual that is seeking employment does not meet the qualification standards found under COMAR 13A.06.07.06 "School Vehicle Driver Trainee and School Vehicle Driver Qualifications" will be reported to the MSDE disqualified driver database. In order to further assist local school systems with clarification of driver disqualification standards, the Department's "Driver Disqualification Form" will be updated to reflect the changes that will be approved by the State Board of Education. This will be disseminated to the appropriate local school system staff. Student safety continues to be our highest priority. The MSDE staff are committed to working with local school systems to implement processes and procedures that ensure the safe transportation of all students.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Department of Education
Date: 4/11/2017
Response: On March 29, 2017, the NTSB adopted its safety recommendation report concerning the driver qualification processes for BCPS and the disqualified driver database for all Maryland school districts.1 Additional information about the issues and the resulting recommendations may be found in the safety recommendation report, which can be accessed at the NTSB website, under report number NTSB/HSR-17/02. As a result of this safety recommendation report, we issued two new safety recommendations (one urgent) to Baltimore City Public Schools and the following new recommendation to the Maryland State Department of Education.