What districts are considering after 5 school bus crashes in metro Richmond in 48 hours

Posted at 5:37 PM, Dec 03, 2014

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- After five bus crashes in the metro Richmond area in less than 48 hours, and a crash involving two buses that killed two students in Tennessee, new technology is helping school systems track drivers.

While other drivers were to blame for the majority of the crashes on the road, CBS 6 wanted to know how are drivers being trained, especially in the wake of a nationwide bus driver shortage.


"We had drivers come in and finish our training course and we don't let them drive," Ron Rhodes with Prince George County Public Schools said.

Rhodes explained that school bus drivers in Virginia  are required to have 48 hours of instruction time. Ten of those hours must be behind the wheel with an instructor while students are on the bus. And a commercial driving license is also required.

Seats belts are not required in Virginia and there is little movement to have them installed. That's because Rhodes said there is a concern those belts could be used for bullying.

"Do you really want to turn a bunch of elementary kids loose with seat belts," Rhodes asked.


Rhodes also said that a lack of funding is preventing school systems from upgrading school bus safety.

Prince George County has a GPS system which allows administrators to see in real-time where buses are and if drivers are going over the speed limit.

In fact, during our interview two drivers were busted  going over the speed limit in school zones.

"This system has drastically improved our safety," Rhodes added.