I-Team Investigates: Wake County school bus safety

March 5, 2012 3:42:43 PM PST
One year ago, an I-Team investigation into the number of school bus accidents prompted Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata to promise to make changes.

Overall, there were fewer school bus accidents in the first months of this year than there were last year. However, looking at the whole school year, more than half the accidents were the bus driver's fault.

An accident this morning in north Raleigh was not an uncommon sight. It happened on Lead Mine Road between Lynn and Millbrook Roads. The accident report showed the crash was the bus driver's fault for crossing the double yellow line.

According to the school system, of the 116 accidents involving Wake County school busses, 65 accidents were found to be the bus driver's fault.

Last year, the I-Team investigated a string of school bus accidents in January and February. The average number of school bus accidents more than tripled.

"Because of what I have seen and the accident rate that is evident, I'm asking the transportation department to conduct a stand-down for safety; face to face meetings with our drivers to put them on notice that we have to change things," said Tata in 2011.

Click here to see a school district memo on at-fault accidents.

Tata promised three specific changes: Every school bus driver would get mandatory monthly safety training; the review board that investigates bus accidents would be beefed up; and a matrix of consequences for different types of accidents would be developed.

"There's nothing more important than the safety and security of our students," said Tata.

Despite repeated requests from ABC11, no one from the school system would go on camera Monday. We were told Tata and other school officials were all busy.

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