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Grounding drivers with a history of accidents can save lives

When an accident costs a life, the pain and loss for family and friends is unimaginable. If there is anything that can make this pain worse, it is the knowledge that the accident could have been avoided easily with a modicum of caution and common sense.

A crash in Baltimore recently killed six people, and it was exactly the type of tragedy that could have been avoided.

Serious Accident

According to the Washington Post online, six people were killed in an accident involving a bus, a Ford Mustang and an MTA bus. The bus driver, after possibly suffering some kind of seizure-like episode, hit the Mustang and then hit the MTA bus, killing six including himself and seriously injuring numerous others.

This Accident Should Be No Surprise

The medical report and driving history on the bus driver is shocking. According to the NTSB, the driver suffered from diabetes, repeated seizures and hypertension. In addition to this obvious risk, the driver also "had been involved in at least 12 crashes in the past five years" according to the National Transportation Safety Board, as reported by the Washington Post.

How is it that someone with diabetes and hypertension, a history of seizures and more than 12 accidents in the past years maintain a license to drive a bus of special needs children through the streets of Baltimore in morning rush hour traffic? (No children were on the bus at the time of the accident, but the driver was contracted to drive special needs children.)

To be fair, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Department was apparently in the process of downgrading his license. However, a driver with this kind of history and medical report is such an obvious risk, there is no justification for his being on the road.

Who Is Responsible?

From the Washington Post report, it seems that there are plenty of people and entities who should share liability:

  • The driver: He knew he had a history of seizures and an alarming number of accidents, yet he was driving a bus full of special needs children through busy streets. That is hard to justify.
  • The company employing the driver: This is the entity with the greatest degree of obvious liability. The company had to know about the history of accidents and medical issues. There is no excuse for not pulling this driver long before this tragedy occurred.
  • The school system contracting the company: The city school system claimed they are looking into tightening the system for contracting out bus driving services, but they have to share in some degree of the liability.
  • The medical examiners: Someone had to sign something that assured the industry this driver was medically fit for driving children.
  • The MVD: Although the Maryland MVD was in the process of grounding this driver, this is a process that needs to speed up. Someone with this type of record should have been grounded immediately.

This is a terrible, tragic accident. And it is one that could have been avoided. Hopefully the families of the victims will hire an experienced lawyer and bring the responsible parties to justice, and hopefully the damages the responsible parties have to pay will put the rest of the world on alert and improve safety for everyone out on the roads.

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