The Union Recorder

Local News

October 6, 2010

Big variation found in Ga. bus driver training

ATLANTA — An examination of school bus driver training requirements in Georgia shows considerable variation.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found a training requirement of anywhere from 24 to 120 hours, depending on the school district.

The issue arose following Monday's deadly school bus crash in Carroll County, in which a trainee was behind the wheel.

School bus drivers in Georgia must receive three certifications: a commercial driver's license, a certification to carry more than 16 passengers and a certification to drive to a school bus.

The state Board of Education requires that school districts give bus drivers at least 12 hours of classroom training, six hours of driving an empty bus and six hours of driving students while under the supervision of a trainer.

The Carroll County district said driver Kenneth Ross Herringdine was driving with a temporary school bus driver's license and was under the supervision of a trainer at the time of the accident.

Elena Schulenburg, a school system spokeswoman, said the driver had fulfilled all of the requirements for a license.

The crash killed 17-year-old James "Ray Ray" Rashawn Walker, an aspiring graphic designer and member of the Temple High School football team, and injured 13 other students.

Carroll County investigators are trying to determine what caused Monday’s crash.

The bus had no obvious mechanical problems and Herringdine was not suspected of using alcohol or drugs, Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Justin Howard said.

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