The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has obtained a Georgia’s State Patrol investigative report into the fatal school bus accident in Carroll County in 2010 that resulted in the wrongful death of a student.The investigative report blames drowsy driving by the school bus driver, and also indicates that students on the bus were nervous about the bus driver’s driving abilities.
The accident occurred in October 2010, when a group of fourteen high school students were traveling from Temple High School to a vocational school.Suddenly, the bus veered to the right of the road and into a ditch.It then overturned, leaving more than a dozen students with personal injuries.A seventeen-year-old student on the bus was killed.He was partially ejected from the bus when it flipped over, and was trapped underneath the bus.
The driver of the bus was a trainee who was scheduled to take his test to become a full-time driver the next day.He had not completed six hours of required training. The investigative report seemed to indicate that the driver had a record of unsafe driving, and students on the bus had been afraid for their safety on the day of the accident.Several students also mentioned to investigators that the way he was driving, especially over dirt roads, was very unsafe.This week, he was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $600 for failure to stay in his lane.
It is not just students on the bus who had doubts about the driver’s driving abilities.His trainer told investigators that she had been concerned about his driving performance, and that students who had been in his bus on that fateful day, had also been afraid about traveling in his bus.The trainer told investigators that the driver never bothered much with mirror usage, and failed to focus on the task of driving.She told investigators that the morning before the accident, he had run over a dog without bothering to avoid it; a common accident situation when a driver’s attention is elsewhere.
The biggest revelation from the report is that the driver was struggling with the effects of cough medicine, and was drowsy at the time of the accident.Students on the bus also told investigators that the driver appeared to be drowsy while driving. Drug and alcohol tests conducted on the driver after the accident did not show any trace of alcohol or narcotics.But a toxicology screen revealed the presence of brompheniramine, an ingredient that is commonly found in cough medications.This ingredient is responsible for causing drowsiness and sleepiness.
School buses carry some of our most precious cargo, and the people who operate these buses need to be aware of this responsibility at all times.When it comes to impaired driving, Atlanta bus accident lawyers find that the focus tends to be on driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotic drugs.However, people who are driving under the influence of prescription medications and over-the-counter cough and cold formulations are also be at a high risk of impaired driving.