Judge: Fatal crash points to 'deficiencies' in bus safety, driver training

Posted on April 5, 2011

CALGARY, Alberta — An inquiry by Alberta Provincial Court Judge Bruce Fraser into the death of a 9-year-old girl in a 2007 school bus crash found "deficiencies" in school bus safety and driver training.

Fraser made recommendations in his report, released on Thursday, for better training, mental health screening and random drug tests, The Edmonton Journal reports.

According to Fraser's report, Kathelynn Occena's death could not have been prevented, as it is unknown why bus driver Louise Rogers veered into a parked gravel truck on Oct. 18, 2007, then careened into a power pole. The crash killed Kathelynn and seriously injured three children, including the girl's younger sister.

The fatality inquiry heard much evidence on Rogers' mental health. In the report, Fraser wrote that there was no indication that she crashed intentionally.

Prior to the crash, Rogers had been hospitalized for mental health issues. She was prescribed sleeping pills and anti-depressants, although they were at low levels in her system on the day of the accident.

Fraser recommended that drivers disclose any health issues to their employer and submit a report from a medical professional if they take off work for health issues.

Fraser's other recommendations included that:

∙ Drivers submit to random drug testing
∙ Hand-held devices be banned in buses
∙ Bus companies consider installing video surveillance equipment in buses
∙ Potential candidates be required to pass a medical exam
∙ Companies adopt Alberta Transportation hiring recommendations, including defensive driving courses

Related Topics: school bus crash

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