COLUMBUS, Ga. — An update on four school bus crashes in exactly one week all in Muscogee County.
The most recent on Monday. That crash injured at least eight students.At the same time the district is suffering a bus driver shortage, begging the question, what does it take to be trusted with student safety?
On December 5 a school bus was involved in a hit and run at Macon Road and Chattsworth Road. The second, just two days later.
A police report says a bus driver was cited after rear-ending a car on the JR Allen Parkway off ramp onto Blackmon Road.
The third crash happened the next day, Friday, December 8, when a bus en route to an elementary school slid into a ditch at the intersection of Macon and Fulton Roads. And finally, on Monday, at least eight students reported minor injuries after police say a car ran a stop sign at Chalbena Avenue and Josephine Street and crashed into the side of a school bus bound for East Columbus Magnet Academy.
The bus drivers ages ranged from 55 to 70. A school district representative says she can’t comment on the level of experience the drivers have, but says event though the district is in need of drivers, not just anyone can get behind the wheel.
“They have to be a holder of a CDL — that’s a commercial driver’s license — that’s the first one. They need to be of age to do that, and they need to have some experience driving with a CDL as well. But we do offer some additional training. There are some provisions for those who have not obtained a CDL, that we may be able to work with them,” says Mercedes Parham.
Parham says the school district is still investigating the crashes and the factors that contributed to them.