7 Investigates: Enforcement lacking in state bus crash system - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7 Investigates: Enforcement lacking in state bus crash system


In 2007, lawmakers passed a law requiring newer school buses to have seat belts installed. At the same time, an amendment required school districts across the state to report bus crashes to the state.

The Texas Education Agency's Bus Accident Reporting System (BARS) requires school districts to report the following annually:

  • number of crashes
  • number of people injured (both students and adults)
  • number of those injured
  • If seat belts were available (and if so, how many students were wearing them.)
Wednesday's crash involved two Athens Independent School District buses. Records in the BARS for Athens ISD showed the following during the 2012-2013 school year:
  • 4 crashes involving district-owned buses
  • seat belts were only available for the drivers in those crashes
  • 88 students were involved in those crashed
During our KLTV 7 Investigation, we found there is nothing forcing districts to report to the TEA.

For example, Longview ISD did not report figures for the 2012-2013 school year, according to TEA records.

MORE: Bus accident reports for more than 80 East Texas school districts

Longview ISD transportation officials confirm that crash happened in the 2012-2013 school year and said they were double-checking whether the report was sent to the TEA.

State education officials said there is nothing requiring districts like Longview to report to the BARS annually.

"Other than the law does require them to file these reports, we have no authority to take punitive action against the district," said TEA Spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson. "But this is something the taxpayers in that district can go to the school board and remind them that this information is required to be filed by the state."

7 Investigates reached out to State Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) who was a co-sponsor of the 2007 bill and State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) who authored the amendment creating the Bus Accident Reporting System, both of their offices did not provide comment for this story. 

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.
Powered by Frankly