How a 1972 Tragedy in Lower HV Inspired New Safety Standards For Bus Drivers
A tragedy that occurred nearly 50 years ago involving a Nyack school bus changed the way bus drivers are hired.
Would you believe that back in the day people put their kids on faulty buses each day with drivers who barely had any kind of technical training?
Have you ever wondered why school buses need to stop, quiet the kids down and open their windows before they cross train tracks? Or why some bus drivers need a CDL or pass several examinations? Would you believe that as late as the 1970's bus drivers didn't need a whole lot of training or qualifications and buses weren't all that safe.
Being a school bus driver has got to be one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. You have the responsibility to protect dozens of kid as you make sure they get to and from school safely each weekday all while they're screaming, moving and just doing what kids do. Back in the day there really wasn't a lot of training required for bus drivers. Unfortunately, it took a local tragedy to totally curb that.
According to the New York Times, on the morning of March 24 1972, a packed school bus reportedly rolled through a railroad crossing on Gilchrest Road in Congers and was struck by a train killing 3 students and injuring at least 40 others. According to School Bus Fleet, the bus driver was convicted on five counts of criminally negligent homicide.
Officials used the aftermath of the horrific crash to pass the Student Safety Act of 1972 which required drivers to have to pass background checks, written and oral exams and even have a commercial driver's license. Even the way school bus construction was drastically improved.
Do bus driver's get a enough credit?