A vehicle tried to pass a Carroll County Public Schools bus and was struck as the bus made a three-point turn on a dead end road in Marriottsville on Monday, according to school officials.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 7:01 a.m. for a collision in the 7600 block of Ridge Road, according to Jonathan Light, public information officer. Bus 132 backed into a Toyota sedan that had tried to drive around it, striking the rear passenger side of the car, according to CCPS Director of Transportation Mike Hardesty and area supervisor John O’Meally.
No one was injured, according to police. The vehicle, which was leaking fluid after the crash, was towed, while the bus was “barely scratched,” O’Meally said.
“The car was moving to try and squeeze around the bus,” O’Meally said.
Two students were aboard the bus heading for Liberty High School, said Brenda Bowers, communications coordinator. The bus continued its route after the incident, she said.
Hardesty said the bus was at a stop, making a routine three-point turn that is necessary to exit the dead end road.
“Every morning it does the same thing,” Hardesty said.
The bus driver was tested for controlled substances, which is standard practice, according to Hardesty. No citations are expected to be issued, according to Light.
34 bus accidents this school year
Over the past nine school days there have been at least four collisions involving CCPS school buses.
On Wednesday, two CCPS buses crashed in Woodbine after an unexpected snow squall swept through the county. Three students suffered minor injuries and one 16-year-old boy was taken to Carroll Hospital by ambulance for a head injury.
Two crashes occurred Dec. 20. In the morning, a bus transporting special-needs students hit a guardrail in Finksburg and no injuries were reported. Later that day, two adults and one child were taken to the hospital after a U-Haul truck and school bus collided in Hampstead.
A little less than halfway through the school year, the number of total accidents is trending slightly higher than the year before.
An “accident” is defined as anything striking the bus or when the bus strikes something, according to Hardesty. This includes moving vehicles and stationary objects such as a guardrail.
There were 63 CCPS bus accidents in financial year 2019, 72 in 2018, and 85 in 2017, Hardesty said. Of the accidents in 2019, 39 were determined to be preventable — a 22% decrease from 2018, when 50 accidents were found preventable, according to Hardesty. Fifty-eight of the accidents in 2017 were preventable.
There have been 34 accidents so far this school year, including Monday’s crash, according to O’Meally. Five of them are considered major accidents by the school district, which means there was property damage higher than $3,000 or personal injury, O’Meally and Hardesty said. There were eight major accidents that could have been prevented in 2019, according to Hardesty.
The accident review committee determines whether an accident was preventable. Its members include a Sheriff’s Office deputy, a driver’s instructor, a bus contractor or driver, the risk manager from human resources, and O’Meally, who serves as chair, according to Hardesty. The driver involved in an accident is also brought in for the review process, Hardesty said.
The accident review committee is aided in its investigation by new front facing cameras that show the driver’s perspective, according to Hardesty. These cameras were installed on all of the buses by the end of October, he said.