NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A report has found more than 4,500 school bus crashes have occurred in Connecticut over the last five years, leading to dozens of lawsuits against three major bus companies.
Hearst Connecticut Media reported there have been 4,695 crashes since 2016, many involving rear-end collisions or instances where drivers backed into other vehicles or into curbs or light poles, or collided with vehicles while attempting to turn.
The plaintiffs filing lawsuits include parents of children who were injured when drivers braked suddenly or turned roughly.
In court documents, the three bus companies named in a total of 38 lawsuits — DATTCO, Durham School Services and First Student — have denied allegations of negligence.
DATTCO and First Student didn't respond to requests for comment from the newspaper. A spokesperson for Durham said all its drivers complete safety training and are re-certified every four years under state law.
School bus drivers in Connecticut are required to have an acceptable driving record free of violations as minor as failing to obey a stop sign and as serious as driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.
However, federal requirements setting minimum hours of behind-the-wheel training for new drivers don’t go into effect until next year, Cathy Chase, president of the organization Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, told Hearst.