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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-012
Synopsis: In November 2016, the NTSB began the investigation of two crashes involving school buses. Each crash was initiated when the driver lost control of the bus. In the November 1 crash in Baltimore, Maryland, the driver was epileptic and suffered a seizure. In the November 21 crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the driver was speeding while using a cell phone and ran off the road. In both cases, the school bus operators were private for-hire motor carriers. Although the specific safety issues differed, the crashes shared one common factor: poor driver oversight by both the school districts and the contracted motor carriers, which resulted in unsafe operation of the school buses. Between the two crashes, 12 people died and 37 were injured. The crash investigations focused on the following safety issues: school districts’ lack of oversight of student transportation providers; poor management of unsafe school bus drivers by the motor carriers and school districts; medically unfit school bus drivers; commercial driver license fraud; occupant protection in large school buses; and the benefits of electronic stability control, automatic emergency braking, and event data recorders. The NTSB made safety recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); the states of Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York; 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the territory of Puerto Rico—which lack requirements for lap/shoulder belts on large school buses; the state of Maryland; the Maryland Department of Education; the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration; five school bus transportation associations; National Express LLC; seven school bus manufacturers; five electronic health record companies; and Concentra, Inc. The report also reiterates four recommendations to NHTSA and reclassifies a recommendation to the Baltimore City Public Schools.
Recommendation: TO THE MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: Publicize to the state school districts and school bus communities the methods available for individual reporting of school bus drivers with medical conditions that may affect their ability to safely operate a school bus.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Chattanooga, TN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: HWY17MH009
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: HIGHWAY - HWY17MH009
Report #: SIR-18-02
Accident Date: 11/21/2016
Issue Date: 6/21/2018
Date Closed: 11/2/2018
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Maryland, Department of Education (Closed - Acceptable Action)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Department of Education
Date: 11/2/2018
Response: We commend your efforts to inform Maryland pupil transportation directors and the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association of this recommendation by issuing the July 18, 2018, medical condition reporting guidance memo and through discussion at your upcoming conferences. These actions satisfy Safety Recommendation H-18-12, which is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: State of Maryland, Department of Education
Date: 8/28/2018
Response: -From Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools: In response to the May 22, 2018, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) meeting regarding the NTSB's final report (Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, Special Investigation Report, NTSB/SIR-18/02, PB2018-100932), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) provides the following response to address safety recommendation H-18-12. On July 18, 2018, the MSDE Office of Pupil Transportation issued a guidance memo to the 24 Maryland Pupil Transportation Directors and to the Maryland School Bus Contactors Association. The memo communicated safety recommendation H-18-12 to publicize to the state school districts and school bus communities the methods to report a school bus driver with medical conditions that may affect their ability to safely operate a school bus, and the agency to whom this information is to be reported. For Maryland, that agency is the Motor Vehicle Administration's (MVA), Medical Advisory Board. Please see the attached memo. To further communicate H-18-12 safety recommendation, the MSDE will hold semi-annual conferences with the 24 Directors of Pupil Transportation. Discussion surrounding the process to refer a driver to the MVA with medical concerns will be a major topic of discussion during both conferences. In addition, the MSDE will continue contact with the MV A to ensure the method of reporting a school bus driver with medical concerns is kept current. 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 Maryland students and working with the MY A to ensure the accuracy of data regarding school bus drivers with medical concerns.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Department of Education
Date: 6/21/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, NTSB/SIR-18/02. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the Maryland State Department of Education, which can be found on page 76 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.