Training classes in the works for Wake bus drivers


So, the I-Team began asking questions and discovered in January and February, there were twice as many wrecks as normal. As it turns out, bus drivers were not getting additional driving classes beyond initial training.

Now, the Wake County Public School System is working with the DMV to provide new training classes for bus drivers.

"With more than 700,000 vehicles registered in Wake County, it stands to reason that there will be an accident from time to time," said Greg Thomas, WCPSS. "Although in January and February, there is an increase of accidents."

Two weeks ago the school system admitted it could not explain a rash of wrecks involving school buses.

"To be honest with you, it's a bit of a head scratcher," Thomas said. "There doesn't seem to be anything that leads to any clear indication that there's anything different or unusual or out of the ordinary contributing to these."

The I-Team crunched the numbers and found in January and February there were twice as many wrecks as normal -- 45 accidents. Eighteen were caused by other drivers and 27 were caused by school bus drivers.

After the I-Team started asking questions, the school district launched a new program with help from the DMV. The school system says the new monthly training sessions will focus on defensive driving and will sharpen skills.

The school system says the sessions are available to all bus drivers, and it can refer drivers if a review board feels the driver would benefit from the class or if the driver caused an accident.

"It's important to take every opportunity to improve safety and efficiency," said the head of transportation for Wake Schools.

The school system also points to government data showing children are 6.5 times safer on a school bus than they are riding with their parents or peers.

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