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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-016
Details
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 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE DIRECTORS OF PUPIL TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR PUPIL TRANSPORTATION, NATIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN SCHOOL BUS COUNCIL, AND MARYLAND SCHOOL BUS CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION: Inform your members of the circumstances of the Baltimore, Maryland, school bus crash and lessons learned from the crash investigation to help raise awareness of the avenues available to report school bus drivers with medical conditions that may make it unsafe for them to operate a school bus.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Await Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Chattanooga, TN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: 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: American School Bus Council (Open - Await Response)
Maryland School Bus Contractors Association (Closed - Acceptable Action)
National Association for Pupil Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (Closed - Acceptable Action)
National School Transportation Association (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services
Date: 7/16/2019
Response: For the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, the National Association for Pupil Transportation, and the National School Transportation Association, Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is reclassified from “Open—Initial Response Received” to CLOSED- ACCEPTABLE ACTION in section 2.3.5 of this report. 2.3.5 Safety Recommendations PPTs can help identify medically unfit drivers who have valid medical examination certificates but who might not be able to perform the duties of a school bus driver, especially in an emergency. The Iowa Administrative Code specifies physical fitness requirements for school bus drivers, which include having sufficient physical capacity to operate a bus effectively and to render assistance to passengers in case of illness or injury. However, the state code leaves it to the discretion of the chief administrator (or a designee of the employer or prospective employer) to evaluate the ability of a school bus driver to operate safety equipment and assist passengers. Each state may be different in the discretion given to school districts for instituting PPTs. The NTSB recognizes the RCSD for reinstating the PPTs for its drivers on hiring, annually, and as needed. School bus drivers can experience health-related changes, either temporary or permanent, in their ability to physically perform the duties of their job. As this crash demonstrates, changes can occur between annual or biennial driver examinations. Given the special requirements related to evacuation and assistance of students that apply to school bus drivers, the NTSB believes that requiring school bus drivers nationwide to complete a PPT regularly or when there is a concern about their abilities to meet the physical requirements of the job enhances the safety of students and drivers alike and, further, that school systems without such programs are missing a safety opportunity. Accordingly, the NTSB recommends that the 44 states that do not currently require PPTs, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico revise their school bus driver requirements so that all drivers must pass a PPT on hiring and at least annually, and also whenever a driver’s physical condition changes in a manner that could affect his or her ability to physically perform school bus driver duties, including helping passengers evacuate a bus in an emergency.75 As discussed in the NTSB’s special investigation report addressing the Baltimore crash (NTSB 2018), all state licensing agencies accept third-party reporting of drivers who have medical conditions that might impair their ability to safely operate a vehicle. In the Baltimore report, the NTSB noted that “school bus drivers with potentially hazardous medical conditions are of concern nationwide. Every state allows individual reporting of medically unsafe drivers to the state licensing agency.” The NTSB recommended that the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), the NAPT, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), the American School Bus Council, and the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association (MSBCA) inform their members of the circumstances of the Baltimore school bus crash and lessons learned from the crash investigation to help raise awareness of the avenues available to report school bus drivers with medical conditions that may make it unsafe for them to operate a school bus (Safety Recommendation H-18-16). For the MSBCA, Safety Recommendation H-18-16 was classified “Closed—Acceptable Action” on October 16, 2018. For the NASDPTS, the NAPT, and the NSTA, the current status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is “Open—Initial Response Received.” For the American School Bus Council, the current status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is “Open—Await Response.” In June 2018, the NSTA published an article in its newsletter informing all its members of the circumstances of the Baltimore crash and the lessons learned to raise awareness of driver reporting. The NSTA discussed the Baltimore crash safety recommendation in July 2018 at its annual conference, and then in November 2018, hosted a webinar covering driver fitness for duty. In June 2018, the NASDPTS sent a copy of the NTSB’s special investigation report on the Baltimore crash to its members and encouraged them to review it. In July 2018, the MSBCA published a letter on its website informing its members of the Baltimore crash to raise awareness of reporting methods for school bus drivers who have medical conditions that might make it unsafe for them to operate school buses. In October 2018, the NASDPTS surveyed its state directors to assess existing state requirements and guidelines in many of the areas related to updating school bus driver qualification requirements and programs and discussed the results at its annual conference. Also in 2018, the electronic newsletter of the NASDPTS published a link to the NTSB press release and media reports about the Baltimore crash investigation. The NAPT presented a keynote address at its October 2018 annual conference, informing all members about the Baltimore crash circumstances and the NTSB’s safety recommendations. On the basis of a review of the work those associations have done to raise awareness of reporting methods, as discussed in the report addressing the Baltimore crash, the NTSB classifies Safety Recommendation H-18-16 as CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION for the NASDPTS, the NAPT, and the NSTA. For the American School Bus Council, the status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 remains “Open—Await Response.” The NTSB is concerned that school districts are overlooking medical conditions that would impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a school bus in order to maintain school bus transportation services. A driver should be physically fit for the demands of the position, which include not only driving the school bus but also possessing the dexterity and physical strength to operate the emergency exits for an evacuation, to lift and deploy a fire extinguisher, and to assist one or more passengers who are incapacitated and need egress assistance. The NTSB recommends that the state of Iowa inform its school districts of the circumstances of the Oakland school bus crash and fire and the lessons learned from the investigation, and that it publicize to its staff the methods available for individually reporting school bus drivers who have medical conditions that might affect their ability to safely operate a school bus.

From: National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services
To: NTSB
Date: 6/6/2019
Response: -From Charlie Hood, Executive Director: This letter comprises our preliminary response to Safety Recommendation H-18-16 from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), issued to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and others. The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services was founded in 1968. Our purpose is to provide leadership, assistance, and motivation to the nation’s school transportation community and industry. The association works to ensure safe, secure, environmentally responsible, and cost effective transportation to school children and ensure their continued access to school and school related activities. NASDPTS represents a cross section of individuals and organizations involved in student transportation. As the association’s name indicates, members include those individuals with the primary responsibility for school transportation in each state. In addition, school bus manufacturers and other industry suppliers, school transportation contractors, and a number of state associations, whose members include school transportation officials, drivers, trainers, and technicians, also are members of affiliated councils within the association. This diversity in membership, combined with the day-to-day involvement of the state directors in policy matters, creates a unique perspective on pupil transportation issues. The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) has taken several actions and has additional plans to address this important safety recommendation. These actions and plans are summarized as follows: 1. On February 6, 2017, NASDPTS sent the Safety Board its response to Safety Recommendation H-16-7, contained in the “NTSB Highway Accident Brief, School Bus Roadway Departure (NTSB/HAB-16/06).” The HAB detailed the circumstances of a highway road departure in Anaheim, California, on April 24, 2014, in which a school bus driver who had not self-reported a history of serious medical issues passed out and departed the roadway, resulting in a serious crash. The NTSB Safety Recommendation H-16-7 to NASDPTS was to: Inform school bus drivers of the impact their health may have on the safe transportation of school children, of their responsibility to accurately and completely report their health history and medications, and of the legal consequences of dishonesty on the medical examination report. The NASDPTS response, conveyed to all state directors of pupil transportation on February 6, 2017, encouraged them to: 1. Recommend adoption for all school bus drivers within your state of the commercial driver medical examination requirements prescribed by FMCSA, if such requirements are not already in place. 2. Inform local school districts regarding the circumstances of the Anaheim crash; ensure that all school bus drivers are trained regarding the overall importance of self-reporting accurately any medical conditions that may affect their fitness to drive and medications taken, including at least those conditions listed within the Driver Health History section of the FMCSA Medical Examination Report Form. 3. Research potential legal consequences within your state of failure by school bus drivers to report honestly any medical conditions and medications taken, as required by the state’s adopted commercial driver medical examination report; inform school districts of such consequences and have them train all school bus drivers accordingly. On April 6, 2017, the NTSB notified NASDPTS that its response satisfied the safety recommendation, and it was classified as “Closed—Acceptable Action.” NASDPTS believes the above guidance for state directors also satisfies in part the intent of subsequent Safety Recommendation H-18-16. 2. On February 23, 2018, NASDPTS assisted the NTSB at its request by sending state directors a survey to gather information on states’ practices for administering school bus driver physical performance and dexterity tests (PPDTs). The survey asked states whether they required any formal agility or dexterity tests of school bus drivers, apart from the requirements for a commercial driver license medical examination. While this survey did not relate directly to the subsequent Safety Recommendation H-18-16, it did highlight the importance of school bus drivers’ overall fitness to perform certain critical duties of their positions. The results of the survey were conveyed to the Safety Board’s investigator on April 5, 2018. 3. On May 17, 2018, NASDPTS sent its members a new, comprehensive position paper, “America’s Professional School Bus Drivers: Their importance to Student Safety and Educational Success.” The paper is available at http://www.nasdpts.org/Papers/index.html. The paper provides an overview of the requirements for licensure, training, and qualifications that school bus drivers must meet, and it contains recommendations and best practices for driver qualifications and performance in areas where uniform national regulations may not exist. NASDPTS encouraged its members to review and share the information and guidance with everyone who serves parents and students, including safety partners such as national, state, and local officials, school districts, charter schools, private schools, industry suppliers, and others. As one of many recommended or required safety measures, mechanisms for school bus drivers to self-report medical conditions that could impair safe driving and for others to report possible medical issues relating to driving performance are important. NASDPTS believes that this issue, addressed within Safety Recommendation H-18-16, and all other aspects of driver licensure, training, qualifications, and performance are critical to the safety of student riders and the motoring public. Several lapses relating to the two school bus drivers’ qualifications and performance, not all of which were medically related, contributed to the Baltimore and Chattanooga crashes, according to the Safety Board’s findings. NASDPTS’ knowledge of the well-known circumstances of the crashes from media reports and other sources prompted us to develop the position paper and encourage our members to use it as tool for evaluating their policies and procedures against industry benchmarks and best practices. 4. On June 25, 2018, NASDPTS sent NTSB/SIR-18/02 to its members and encouraged them to review it, including Safety Recommendation H-18-16, in the interest of further improving school bus safety. 5. On October 4, 2018, NASDPTS called upon all state directors to complete a comprehensive survey that assessed existing state requirements and guidelines in many of the areas discussed with the association’s position paper. The data and information from the survey was intended to aid in benchmarking and evaluating existing regulations and programs. The resulting body of knowledge allows student transportation professionals to identify where gaps may exist as the first step in updating school bus driver qualifications requirements and programs if needed. The results of the survey and ways to ensure driver qualifications and performance were reviewed in a workshop at the annual NASDPTS conference in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 31, 2018. NASDPTS will be happy to make the survey results available to the Safety Board upon request. 6. To augment the October 2018 survey and to address the specifics of Safety Recommendation H-18-16, NASDPTS plans to survey its state director members this summer to find out what policies and procedures exist within their states for any individuals or parties to report concerns they may have with the medical conditions of school bus drivers. NASDPTS will summarize its findings and provide them to the Safety Board and to its members to raise awareness. We believe this action will help to satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation H-18-16. In addition to the actions noted above, NASDPTS plans to expand our final response to support other safety recommendations within NTSB/SIR-18/02 that were not specifically addressed to NASDPTS. We note that the various email transmittals and communications referenced above are available to the Safety Board upon request at any time. We greatly value the important work of the National Transportation Safety Board and appreciate this opportunity to respond to Safety Recommendation H-18-16. We trust the above actions and our near-future plans will address the recommendation satisfactorily. As always, NASDPTS remains available to assist the Safety Board.

From: NTSB
To: National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services
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 www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, which can be found on page 77 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 correspondence@ntsb.gov. 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.

From: NTSB
To: National Association for Pupil Transportation
Date: 7/16/2019
Response: For the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, the National Association for Pupil Transportation, and the National School Transportation Association, Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is reclassified from “Open—Initial Response Received” to CLOSED- ACCEPTABLE ACTION in section 2.3.5 of this report. 2.3.5 Safety Recommendations PPTs can help identify medically unfit drivers who have valid medical examination certificates but who might not be able to perform the duties of a school bus driver, especially in an emergency. The Iowa Administrative Code specifies physical fitness requirements for school bus drivers, which include having sufficient physical capacity to operate a bus effectively and to render assistance to passengers in case of illness or injury. However, the state code leaves it to the discretion of the chief administrator (or a designee of the employer or prospective employer) to evaluate the ability of a school bus driver to operate safety equipment and assist passengers. Each state may be different in the discretion given to school districts for instituting PPTs. The NTSB recognizes the RCSD for reinstating the PPTs for its drivers on hiring, annually, and as needed. School bus drivers can experience health-related changes, either temporary or permanent, in their ability to physically perform the duties of their job. As this crash demonstrates, changes can occur between annual or biennial driver examinations. Given the special requirements related to evacuation and assistance of students that apply to school bus drivers, the NTSB believes that requiring school bus drivers nationwide to complete a PPT regularly or when there is a concern about their abilities to meet the physical requirements of the job enhances the safety of students and drivers alike and, further, that school systems without such programs are missing a safety opportunity. Accordingly, the NTSB recommends that the 44 states that do not currently require PPTs, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico revise their school bus driver requirements so that all drivers must pass a PPT on hiring and at least annually, and also whenever a driver’s physical condition changes in a manner that could affect his or her ability to physically perform school bus driver duties, including helping passengers evacuate a bus in an emergency.75 As discussed in the NTSB’s special investigation report addressing the Baltimore crash (NTSB 2018), all state licensing agencies accept third-party reporting of drivers who have medical conditions that might impair their ability to safely operate a vehicle. In the Baltimore report, the NTSB noted that “school bus drivers with potentially hazardous medical conditions are of concern nationwide. Every state allows individual reporting of medically unsafe drivers to the state licensing agency.” The NTSB recommended that the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), the NAPT, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), the American School Bus Council, and the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association (MSBCA) inform their members of the circumstances of the Baltimore school bus crash and lessons learned from the crash investigation to help raise awareness of the avenues available to report school bus drivers with medical conditions that may make it unsafe for them to operate a school bus (Safety Recommendation H-18-16). For the MSBCA, Safety Recommendation H-18-16 was classified “Closed—Acceptable Action” on October 16, 2018. For the NASDPTS, the NAPT, and the NSTA, the current status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is “Open—Initial Response Received.” For the American School Bus Council, the current status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is “Open—Await Response.” In June 2018, the NSTA published an article in its newsletter informing all its members of the circumstances of the Baltimore crash and the lessons learned to raise awareness of driver reporting. The NSTA discussed the Baltimore crash safety recommendation in July 2018 at its annual conference, and then in November 2018, hosted a webinar covering driver fitness for duty. In June 2018, the NASDPTS sent a copy of the NTSB’s special investigation report on the Baltimore crash to its members and encouraged them to review it. In July 2018, the MSBCA published a letter on its website informing its members of the Baltimore crash to raise awareness of reporting methods for school bus drivers who have medical conditions that might make it unsafe for them to operate school buses. In October 2018, the NASDPTS surveyed its state directors to assess existing state requirements and guidelines in many of the areas related to updating school bus driver qualification requirements and programs and discussed the results at its annual conference. Also in 2018, the electronic newsletter of the NASDPTS published a link to the NTSB press release and media reports about the Baltimore crash investigation. The NAPT presented a keynote address at its October 2018 annual conference, informing all members about the Baltimore crash circumstances and the NTSB’s safety recommendations. On the basis of a review of the work those associations have done to raise awareness of reporting methods, as discussed in the report addressing the Baltimore crash, the NTSB classifies Safety Recommendation H-18-16 as CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION for the NASDPTS, the NAPT, and the NSTA. For the American School Bus Council, the status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 remains “Open—Await Response.” The NTSB is concerned that school districts are overlooking medical conditions that would impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a school bus in order to maintain school bus transportation services. A driver should be physically fit for the demands of the position, which include not only driving the school bus but also possessing the dexterity and physical strength to operate the emergency exits for an evacuation, to lift and deploy a fire extinguisher, and to assist one or more passengers who are incapacitated and need egress assistance. The NTSB recommends that the state of Iowa inform its school districts of the circumstances of the Oakland school bus crash and fire and the lessons learned from the investigation, and that it publicize to its staff the methods available for individually reporting school bus drivers who have medical conditions that might affect their ability to safely operate a school bus.

From: National Association for Pupil Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/14/2019
Response: -From Michael J. Martin, Executive Director, National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and NAPT Foundation, Inc.: Thanks for sending the email below. NAPT recognizes that safety recommendations are NTSB's most important product, the lynchpins of the Board's efforts to bring about safety changes to and improvements in the nation's transportation system. We also realize that timeliness is an essential part of the recommendation process. Although the Board's recommendations are not mandatory, we realize Congress, for example, requires the US DOT to respond to recommendations made to it and its agencies within 90 days to emphasize their importance. Whenever NAPT receives a recommendation from NTSB, we do three things immediately. First, the recommendation is disseminated among our entire Board, which reviews and discusses it at its earliest opportunity. Our Board participates in a conference call every month and meets in-person at least 3 and typically 4 times a year so the lag time is short, typically no more than 3 - 4 weeks. Second, we publish in our electronic newsletter a link to the NTSB press release and/or media reports about the investigation. Our newsletter is distributed every Tuesday to our entire membership, as well as another 5,500 subscribers. Finally, we invite a representative of the Board to attend our annual conference and deliver a keynote address about any current investigations and other topics of interest, and we schedule it on a date and at a time that is most convenient to the NTSB guest. We first invited Chairman James P. Hall to join us in 1997 and have invited every Chairman since; I think the Chairman or one her/his designated representatives has accepted this offer every year but one. Former Chairman Christopher Hart joined us several times, as did Chairman Hersman before him. We are very pleased that Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg will be joining us to deliver a keynote address in Columbus, OH this November along with NTSB staff member Michele Beckjord who will moderate a Townhall setting on addressing illegal passing of school buses. In short, the only time we do not follow NTSB's recommendations is when we disagree with them, and I believe that's only happened twice in the 24 years I’ve been here (see Recommendation H-13-035 and Recommendation H-13-036). If we disagree, we will provide a timely, detailed, written explanation of our perspective, as was the case with Recommendations H-13-035 and H-13-036. Moreover, even if/when we disagree with a recommendation, we nonetheless follow the process outlined above, add to it our perspective and continue to seek an amicable resolution of our differences. We plan to continue to use the process outlined above to inform NAPT members of your recommendations. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

From: NTSB
To: National Association for Pupil Transportation
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 www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the National Association for Pupil Transportation, which can be found on page 77 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 correspondence@ntsb.gov. 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.

From: NTSB
To: National School Transportation Association
Date: 7/16/2019
Response: For the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, the National Association for Pupil Transportation, and the National School Transportation Association, Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is reclassified from “Open—Initial Response Received” to CLOSED- ACCEPTABLE ACTION in section 2.3.5 of this report. 2.3.5 Safety Recommendations PPTs can help identify medically unfit drivers who have valid medical examination certificates but who might not be able to perform the duties of a school bus driver, especially in an emergency. The Iowa Administrative Code specifies physical fitness requirements for school bus drivers, which include having sufficient physical capacity to operate a bus effectively and to render assistance to passengers in case of illness or injury. However, the state code leaves it to the discretion of the chief administrator (or a designee of the employer or prospective employer) to evaluate the ability of a school bus driver to operate safety equipment and assist passengers. Each state may be different in the discretion given to school districts for instituting PPTs. The NTSB recognizes the RCSD for reinstating the PPTs for its drivers on hiring, annually, and as needed. School bus drivers can experience health-related changes, either temporary or permanent, in their ability to physically perform the duties of their job. As this crash demonstrates, changes can occur between annual or biennial driver examinations. Given the special requirements related to evacuation and assistance of students that apply to school bus drivers, the NTSB believes that requiring school bus drivers nationwide to complete a PPT regularly or when there is a concern about their abilities to meet the physical requirements of the job enhances the safety of students and drivers alike and, further, that school systems without such programs are missing a safety opportunity. Accordingly, the NTSB recommends that the 44 states that do not currently require PPTs, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico revise their school bus driver requirements so that all drivers must pass a PPT on hiring and at least annually, and also whenever a driver’s physical condition changes in a manner that could affect his or her ability to physically perform school bus driver duties, including helping passengers evacuate a bus in an emergency.75 As discussed in the NTSB’s special investigation report addressing the Baltimore crash (NTSB 2018), all state licensing agencies accept third-party reporting of drivers who have medical conditions that might impair their ability to safely operate a vehicle. In the Baltimore report, the NTSB noted that “school bus drivers with potentially hazardous medical conditions are of concern nationwide. Every state allows individual reporting of medically unsafe drivers to the state licensing agency.” The NTSB recommended that the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), the NAPT, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), the American School Bus Council, and the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association (MSBCA) inform their members of the circumstances of the Baltimore school bus crash and lessons learned from the crash investigation to help raise awareness of the avenues available to report school bus drivers with medical conditions that may make it unsafe for them to operate a school bus (Safety Recommendation H-18-16). For the MSBCA, Safety Recommendation H-18-16 was classified “Closed—Acceptable Action” on October 16, 2018. For the NASDPTS, the NAPT, and the NSTA, the current status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is “Open—Initial Response Received.” For the American School Bus Council, the current status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 is “Open—Await Response.” In June 2018, the NSTA published an article in its newsletter informing all its members of the circumstances of the Baltimore crash and the lessons learned to raise awareness of driver reporting. The NSTA discussed the Baltimore crash safety recommendation in July 2018 at its annual conference, and then in November 2018, hosted a webinar covering driver fitness for duty. In June 2018, the NASDPTS sent a copy of the NTSB’s special investigation report on the Baltimore crash to its members and encouraged them to review it. In July 2018, the MSBCA published a letter on its website informing its members of the Baltimore crash to raise awareness of reporting methods for school bus drivers who have medical conditions that might make it unsafe for them to operate school buses. In October 2018, the NASDPTS surveyed its state directors to assess existing state requirements and guidelines in many of the areas related to updating school bus driver qualification requirements and programs and discussed the results at its annual conference. Also in 2018, the electronic newsletter of the NASDPTS published a link to the NTSB press release and media reports about the Baltimore crash investigation. The NAPT presented a keynote address at its October 2018 annual conference, informing all members about the Baltimore crash circumstances and the NTSB’s safety recommendations. On the basis of a review of the work those associations have done to raise awareness of reporting methods, as discussed in the report addressing the Baltimore crash, the NTSB classifies Safety Recommendation H-18-16 as CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION for the NASDPTS, the NAPT, and the NSTA. For the American School Bus Council, the status of Safety Recommendation H-18-16 remains “Open—Await Response.” The NTSB is concerned that school districts are overlooking medical conditions that would impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a school bus in order to maintain school bus transportation services. A driver should be physically fit for the demands of the position, which include not only driving the school bus but also possessing the dexterity and physical strength to operate the emergency exits for an evacuation, to lift and deploy a fire extinguisher, and to assist one or more passengers who are incapacitated and need egress assistance. The NTSB recommends that the state of Iowa inform its school districts of the circumstances of the Oakland school bus crash and fire and the lessons learned from the investigation, and that it publicize to its staff the methods available for individually reporting school bus drivers who have medical conditions that might affect their ability to safely operate a school bus.

From: National School Transportation Association
To: NTSB
Date: 5/16/2019
Response: -From Richard C. Kelly, Esq.: This letter is in reply to your e-mail on May 8, 2019 inquiring about the above referenced safety recommendation from NTSB to NSTA arising from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report of May 22, 2018. I understand the rec was sent to Tiffany Boykin at NSTA in June 2018 and that you did not receive a reply from her. Tiffany is no longer with NSTA so I provide the following. Since the date of that report, several people at NSTA have been involved in turning the recommendations and resources of the NTSB from the May 22, 2018 report into education and information for our members. NSTA attended the May 22, 2018 NTSB Board meeting to hear the NTSB’s findings and also attended the NTSB’s Crash Investigation Course on June 7, 2018 to gain additional context and information for our members. We then set out a plan of communications that included our newsletter, committee meetings, seminars, webinars, and one on one guidance for individual members. Details follow. Articles in NSTA’s June 2018 newsletter included links to the NTSB’s May 22, 2018 report along with summaries and information learned by the NSTA staff members who attended the May 22nd NTSB board meeting and the June 7th NTSB Crash Investigation course. NTSB findings and recommendations were reviewed in NSTA’s Safety & Security Committee, Manufacturers, Suppliers, & Technology Committee, and Government Relations Committee. These committees again revisited these issues face to face at the NSTA Annual Meeting & Convention in July 2018. In November 2018, NSTA hosted a webinar covering driver fitness for duty and procedures, tools, and best practices to effectively manage drivers to safely perform their essential work duties. NSTA members are constantly reminded that NSTA can assist them one on one as needed when issues or questions arise at their operations regarding safety or other matters. In your May 8, 2018 e-mail, you also inquired about NSTB recs from 2017 and 2013 that indicate acceptable responses were received. Please call when you have a moment regarding all of the recs you referenced and the upcoming NTSB Board meeting on June 18, 2019. Thank you.

From: NTSB
To: National School Transportation Association
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 www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the National School Transportation Association, which can be found on page 77 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 correspondence@ntsb.gov. 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.

From: NTSB
To: Maryland School Bus Contractors Association
Date: 10/16/2018
Response: We appreciate your efforts to inform your members of this recommendation by publishing a letter on your website. This action satisfies Safety Recommendation H-18-16, which is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: Maryland School Bus Contractors Association
To: NTSB
Date: 7/24/2018
Response: -From Mr. Robert Edwards, President, Maryland School Bus Contractors Association: LETTER FROM MSBCA PRESIDENT EDWARDS REGARDING NEW NTSB RECOMMENDATIONS To all Members of the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association: As you are no doubt aware, a tragic crash involving a contractor-owned school bus and a MTA bus occurred in Baltimore on November 1, 2017. The crash was initiated when the school bus driver, an epileptic, lost control of the school bus after suffering a seizure. On May 22, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Selective Issues in School Bus Transportation Safety: Crashes in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The details of these investigations and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/SIR1802.pdf NTSB determined that the probable cause of the Baltimore school bus crash was (1) the loss of vehicle control due to incapacitation of the bus driver because of a seizure stemming from a long-standing seizure disorder; (2) the bus driver’s continued operation of a school bus with a disqualifying medical condition and a fraudulently obtained commercial driver’s license; and (3) the failure of AAAfordable Transportation and the Baltimore City Public Schools to provide adequate bus driver oversight, allowing the medically unfit driver to drive a commercial vehicle with a medical condition that they knew, or should have known, could lead to the unsafe operation of the school bus. Contributing to the severity of the crash was the lack of a collision avoidance system with automatic emergency braking on the school bus. Among the safety recommendations NTSB issued in its report was one new recommendation issued to the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association, which can be found on page 77 of the report: Inform your members of the circumstances of the Baltimore, Maryland, school bus crash and lessons learned from the crash investigation to help raise awareness of the avenues available to report school bus drivers with medical conditions that may make it unsafe for them to operate a school bus. (H-18-16) In light of this terrible tragedy and in response to NTSB’s recommendation, MSCA wishes to underscore the importance of being vigilant when it comes to screening prospective school bus drivers and attendants. Allowing individuals who do not meet Maryland’s stringent medical standards to drive school buses or serve as attendants will inevitably lead to vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities as it did in the Baltimore crash last year. We as an Association need to work with our local school systems to ensure that every single man or woman who gets behind the wheel of a school bus has met each and every criteria required of them, with zero exceptions. I am happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this very serious matter.

From: NTSB
To: Maryland School Bus Contractors Association
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 www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the Maryland School Bus Contractors Association, which can be found on page 77 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 correspondence@ntsb.gov. 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.

From: NTSB
To: American School Bus Council
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 www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the American School Bus Council, which can be found on page 77 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 correspondence@ntsb.gov. 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.