A close call between a school bus and train resulted in dismissal of a Copperas Cove Independent School District bus driver.
The accident occurred Tuesday at 4:18 p.m. near the railroad crossing on 17th Street. According to a press release, 25 students were on bus No. 52 as it began to proceed across the railroad tracks. As the bus entered the tracks, the red flashing light began, the bell sounded and the crossing arm began to come down.
The bus driver reversed the bus off the track, but the crossing arm came down on the bus. The release said the bus was not in contact with the train and no students were harmed in the incident. The driver was not cited, according to the release.
The students from the bus were placed on another bus with a new driver and transported home.
CCISD’s Director of Communications Wendy Sledd said the driver was dismissed from his duty. The name of the driver was not disclosed by the district.
The district noted in their press release bus drivers receive 25 hours of in-service training at the beginning of each school year in addition to the state-mandated 20-hour certification required to receive their licenses to drive a bus.
All CCISD bus drivers will undergo a railroad crossing refresher course before their afternoon routes Wednesday, the district said. The district has 93 bus drivers.
Bus drivers are also required to enroll in an eight-hour recertification course every three years. Drivers also attend monthly safety meetings covering a myriad of topics.
The district’s news release also pointed to federal government statistics that show during normal school travel hours, student fatalities by teen drivers make up 58 percent of all fatalities; when traveling with adult drivers make up 23 percent of all fatalities; while only 1 percent of fatalities occur when traveling by school bus.
“This equates to students being 50 times more likely to arrive at school and back home alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends,” CCISD Deputy Superintendent of Operations and Support Services Rick Kirkpatrick said. “Our drivers undergo drug and alcohol testing throughout the year and undergo frequent driving record checks to ensure our students are safe.”
CCISD has not had a fatality-related school bus accident in more than 40 years “despite traveling thousands of miles and transporting thousands of students every day,” according to the district. Here are the statistics of the CCISD Transportation Department for the 2016-2017 school year.
– Transported more than 5,594 students daily
– Drove 170 routes every day last year
– Traveled 479,669 miles per last year on routes and 2,710 miles per day
– Traveled 90,797 miles transporting extra-curricular students to events
– Traveled 570,466 miles in total last year
Parents with questions or concerns should contact CCISD Director of Support Services Gary Elliott at 254-547-3362.