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Update in Fatal Baltimore Crash: School Bus Driver Didn't Have Valid Commercial License, Took Seizure Medication

By Allan M. Siegel

In the day’s following last Tuesday’s fatal collision between a school bus and an MTA commuter, local and federal authorities have been working diligently to determine an underlying cause. In a wreck that killed 6 victims and injured 11 others, this investigation is crucial in determining whether the incident was preventable, and how regulators can better address any issues involved so as to prevent similar factors from causing other tragic crashes.

DC Bus Accident Lawyer

Investigations into last week’s crash have resulted in several important discoveries, including the school bus driver’s lack of a valid commercial driver’s license. Below are some important facts now known about the wreck:

  • The school bus driver involved in the crash, and who died in the collision, did not possess a valid commercial driver’s license as of September 1, 2016, because he had failed to provide state regulators with required information about his medical condition. A warning letter had been sent to the driver about his medical certificate in July and again in September.
  • AA Affordable Transportation operated the school bus and employed the driver. The company contracted with Baltimore City Public Schools to transport local students who required special assistance and have not commented on the incident.
  • Federal investigators have ruled out mechanical error as a cause of the collision and are further investigating whether the driver’s medical condition played a role, as there was no indication brakes were applied before the crash. Officials have noted that the school bus driver had taken seizure medication in the past.
  • There is evidence from a crash report in 2014 that the school bus driver was involved in a Ellicott City crash that may have been caused by his medical condition.
  • Authorities have reported that an 11th victim, a 28-year-old woman, was also injured in the crash.

New information about the crash is raising concern over the company which operated the school bus. Under Federal law, employers are required to maintain medical examiner’s certificates, including expiration dates, for their CDL drivers. Allowing an individual without a valid commercial license to operate a bus could constitute a violation that makes them liable for victims’ damages.

In crashes involving similar issues, which our firm has experience in handling, victims and families are often able to pursue legal action against bus drivers and their employers for negligence. These cases are hinged on demonstrating that negligence more likely than not contributed to a crash – such as allowing a driver without a valid CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle, and negligently retaining a driver with a history of concerning issues.

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is staying close to the ongoing investigation, as it may prove instrumental in helping victims and families affected by this tragedy in their fight for justice. We have extensive experience handling auto accident and bus accident cases involving violations of federal regulations and negligence, and we are available to help anyone who would like more information about their legal rights.

To speak with a personal injury lawyer from our team, contact us for a free and confidential consultation.