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After crash, Maryland lawmakers propose fines for school bus drivers without proper medical certificates

Baltimore lawmakers have introduced legislation that would make it a crime for a privately contracted bus driver to fail to supply proper medical records showing their fitness to drive, following a deadly crash in the city last year.

The bill would impose a maximum $5,000 fine on drivers who don't have the required documentation on file with their employers.

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Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, the bill's sponsor in the upper chamber, said the community had demanded action after the November crash. Bus driver Glenn Chappell, who had a history of seizures, was driving a school bus through Southwest Baltimore last year and plowed into a Maryland Transit Administration bus, killing himself and five other people.

"If you knowingly know that you have a condition that can cause harm to yourself or others, number one, you shouldn't be driving a school bus. Number two, you have a responsibility to notify the person who you contract with," the Baltimore Democrat said.

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Nathan-Pulliam said she was considering amending the bill to also impose penalties on owners of companies that don't get the required medical records from their drivers.

While the bill would create a new penalty, it would not directly address the circumstances that arose in Chappell's case. He had undergone a recent medical exam and been cleared to drive.

Chappell submitted a medical certificate to the school system, but had not filed it with the MVA, leading the agency to suspend his commercial driver's license two months before the crash.

What's more, federal investigators found Chappell had a history of seizures and other medical problems, which could have disqualified him from driving under state and federal laws.

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