Management

UPDATE: Driver in fatal Georgia bus crash lacked state certification

Posted on October 11, 2010

CARROLLTON, Ga. — Carroll County School System officials have acknowledged that the school bus driver who was involved in last week’s bus crash that killed 17-year-old Rashawn Walker did not have the necessary credentials to operate a school bus.  

District Superintendent Scott Cowart told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that trainee driver Kenneth Herringdine lacked the state certification needed to drive a bus with students on board, and that the school system misinterpreted the regulations imposed by the state Department of Driver Services.

The state requires school bus drivers to obtain three separate credentials: a commercial driver’s license, a "P" endorsement that permits them to drive a vehicle with 16 or more people on board, and an "S" endorsement that permits them to drive a school bus.

Cowart told the newspaper that Herringdine had passed the "S" endorsement written test and was undergoing the required hours of training with a driver trainer. He was scheduled to finalize his skills assessment for the "S" endorsement last Wednesday, two days after the fatal crash.

The district will now review the training for all of its bus drivers to ensure that they are fully certified. The district also will work with the state Department of Education and the Department of Driver Services to ensure its training process meets state requirements, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

As SBF previously reported, Rashawn Walker was killed last Monday when the school bus he was riding hit a ditch and toppled over after Herringdine reportedly lost control of the vehicle.

Related Topics: fatalities, Georgia, school bus crash

Comments ( 4 )
  • Ricky Canterbury

     | about 6 years ago

    The bus accident in Carroll County on October 4 was a terrible tragedy. It is and has been a sad time for the people associated with the accident and it affects all school systems that transport students. The accident has brought attention to the manner in which licenses are issued to potential school bus drivers. As a transportation director in a Georgia school system, I am concerned that the rash response of the press resulted in stories that shared only half truths. Media outlets rushed to gather information for a quick headline without the benefit of a full investigation. Instead of trying to be the first to produce an article the media’s priority should be to seek all the facts. While some in the media have pointed fingers at the Carroll County School System, we should all take consideration of the "gray" areas related to how the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) issues classifications and endorsements for driver trainees. The process the DDS uses for bus driver trainees has problems that need to be addressed. The DDS process for new bus driver trainees is not appropriate. This is how the DDS in our area handles the process for issuing licenses to driver trainees: (1) The trainee takes the four written test, School Bus, Passenger, Air Brake and General Knowledge; (2) after passing all four written test, the DDS confiscates the trainees’ Class C license, and (3) the trainee has a new picture taken and a new temporary paper license is issued to them with Class BP (Bus Permit) and SP (Skills and Passenger) endorsements. However, when a trainee with a Class A (combination) or B (heavier weight) license goes into the DDS, they only need to take two written tests, School Bus and Passenger. After passing both written test, the DDS takes a new license picture but does not confiscate their current (Class A or B) license. Unlike trainees with a Class C license, the DDS does not issue them a new temporary paper license.

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