Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-017
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 NATIONAL EXPRESS LLC: Implement a process to track driver complaints from initial call to case resolution throughout your student transportation service provider companies, including Durham School Services.
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: 12/7/2018
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: National Express LLC (Closed - Acceptable Action)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: National Express LLC
Date: 12/7/2018
Response: We are pleased that you implemented the recommended complaint resolution system and have established training and monitoring systems to identify and resolve safety violations. In addition, your decision to install cameras in all fleet vehicles shows your commitment to developing a comprehensive safety management system for driver oversight and remediation of unsafe behavior throughout your fleet. We commend your prompt action to embrace the intent of our recommendations and invest in company-wide procedures to improve safety across all your operations. These actions satisfy Safety Recommendations H-18-17 and -18, which are classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: National Express LLC
Date: 9/20/2018
Response: -From Robert Ramsdell, Chief Safety Officer, NELLC: In the fourth quarter of 2017, National Express LLC implemented BusReport across all of its North American operations. BusReport is a cloud-based feedback management system that gives parents, residents, customers, and our management teams a platform to log real-time feedback including compliments, requests, or concerns regarding our service and drivers. The general public can access the system at or by dialing 833-BusReport. Our customers have direct portals into the system to enter feedback. Video learning aides are available at to assist customers and the general public with entering feedback. If feedback is received via email or telephone, our team is able to enter it into BusReport for tracking purposes. In addition to logging complaints, BusReport tracks complaint resolution. Deadlines for resolution are automatically set according to pre-determined timelines based upon the nature and severity of the compliant. Complaints classified as high priority must be addressed within 48 hours, medium priority complaints must be addressed within five days, and low priority complaints must be addressed within 7 days. If a complaint is not resolved within the timeline, it is escalated automatically to the next level of management for action. Complaints related to high risk driving behaviors are automatically sent to the next level of management upon entry into the system to ensure they are addressed in a timely manner and alert management of the complaint. In addition to the escalation of events, BusReport enables us to review and monitor complaints centrally. We are also able to run reports to identify company-wide and location specific trends. During the initial implementation of BusReport, we trained our management teams through a combination of live training and eLearning modules. In addition to training managers on how the use the system, the training included instruction on how to investigate and resolve complaints. This module is now assigned to all new managers who join the company during their initial training. BusReport meets all the criteria intended by the NTSB in Recommendation #1. This system not only tracks complaints from initial report through resolution, it also allows National Express to determine trends by location or across the entire company and also carefully monitor all complaints for all our clients in a timely manner and ensure proper and complete resolution/remediation.

From: NTSB
To: National Express LLC
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 two new recommendation issued to National Express LLC, 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.