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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-015
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 MOTOR VEHICLE ADMINISTRATION: 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: Open - Acceptable Response
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:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Maryland, Motor Vehicle Administration (Open - Acceptable Response)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Motor Vehicle Administration
Date: 12/10/2018
Response: We are pleased that you plan to promote safety and medical reporting options at upcoming meetings and training events for the school bus and school bus driver communities. We further note that you plan to work with the Maryland State Department of Education to better incorporate parent complaint submissions when addressing school bus service issues. We look forward to receiving periodic updates on your efforts. Until such actions are complete, Safety Recommendation H-18-15 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: State of Maryland, Motor Vehicle Administration
Date: 8/28/2018
Response: -From Christine Nizer, Administrator, Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration: Background: MDOT MVA has a strong working relationship with the school bus driver community and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) through the school bus safety inspection program and is committed to helping all involved in school transportation to improve vehicle and operator safety. Response to recommendation: In response to the recommendation, MDOT MVA has identified several actions to increase awareness of driver safety issues and the process to refer medical issues to MDOT MVA. 1. MDOT MVA will highlight safety and medical reporting options through regularly scheduled interactions with the school bus driver community. This includes the following: a. Quarterly meetings of the MDOT MVA School Vehicle Advisory Committee b. Spring and fall meetings hosted by MSDE with county transportation directors c. Annual meeting of the Maryland School Bus Contractor Association d. Quarterly meetings with local jurisdiction school bus fleet managers 2. MDOT MVA will promote safety and medical reporting issues through other meetings with the school bus community, including these examples: a. Driver / contractor in-service training, held as requested, typically in the summer. In 2018, MDOT MVA conducted training in Carroll, Calvert, Montgomery, Wicomico and Worcester counties. b. MDOT MVA periodically hosts electronic inspection training in the summer. In 2018, representatives from each of Maryland’s jurisdictions attended at least one session. 3. As noted in response to recommendation H-18-14, MDOT MVA is developing an Internetbased form that will assist non-physician and non-law enforcement personnel by providing a standardized and easy-to-access method for medical referrals. MDOT MVA will publicize this new option to the school bus community. 4. Parents of students may also observe issues with school bus drivers. MDOT MVA will work with MDSE to identify ways to communicate with parents especially at the start of the school year. Parents may already report any issues regarding school bus services using an MDOT MVA School Bus Complaint form (see MDOT MVA will monitor complaint submissions for any medical referrals.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Motor Vehicle Administration
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 are three new recommendations issued to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, which can be found on page 77 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in these recommendations because they are 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 them. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendations 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.