FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-26
Two accidents caused by the same school bus driver within two weeks prompt a look at Tennessee’s commercial driver safety regulations.
In mid-February, White County school bus driver rear-ended a car stopped in the road to make a left turn. The driver and her passenger, both young women under 18, were not injured, though they did receive treatment for neck pain. None of the children on the bus were injured. Two weeks prior to this incident, the same bus driver backed over the front of a car while reversing his bus.
Tennessee Bus and Commercial Driver Safety Rules
School bus drivers must obtain a class C Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL, with the state of Tennessee. All drivers who wish to drive commercial vehicles must complete several steps to ensure that they will be safe drivers.
To obtain a CDL with a school bus endorsement, drivers must already be employed by a school district. Requirements for obtaining a license are in Section 10 of the Tennessee Commercial Driver’s License Manual. In addition to general CDL requirements, drivers seeking the school bus endorsement must understand the safety protocol at railroad crossings, how to conduct an emergency evacuation of a bus, and the protocol for loading and unloading students.
General CDL Safety Requirements
All CDL applicants must pass a knowledge test, a skills test and a road test. These tests evaluate whether a driver knows how to inspect their vehicles for safety before heading out on the road and how to navigate their vehicle safely.
Those with CDLs are also held to strict driving standards. Commercial licenses can be lost if a driver operates his or her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, if a driver commits two serious moving violations like speeding or reckless driving, violates out-of-service orders or violates railroad or highway grade crossing requirements.
In addition to these violations, a CDL can also be lost if drivers commit certain traffic violations in their personal vehicles. Generally, CDLs may be lost if a driver’s personal driver’s license is revoked or suspended for any violation.
In addition to these road safety regulations, commercial drivers must also obtain a Department of Transportation Medical Card that clears them for commercial driving.
Though Tennessee requires drivers to learn and practice safe commercial driving behaviors, some drivers still violate safety codes. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a bus or commercial driver, please consult an experienced personal injury attorney.