Wake County Schools fails to track bus crashes

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – School bus crashes happen throughout the state, but Wake County Schools does not keep a documented record of the crashes which happen each year.

This is something some Wake School families say is surprising.

About 80,000 students ride Wake County School District buses every day. Just this year, CBS North Carolina has reported on several Wake County school bus crashes.

However, getting a total number of crashes for each school year is nearly impossible in the county.

In September, CBS North Carolina requested public records on how many bus crashes occurred in Wake County.

District officials said Wake Schools does not keep those records.

“They don’t track it at all. That’s kind of scary,” said Aaron Mears.

Aaron Mears and his wife, Debbie, wait for their grandchildren to get off the bus nearly every day.


They say they’re surprised that Wake County Schools doesn’t keep track of crashes.

“I’d like to think if they did they would be able to analyze what is the root of the problems and deal with it,” said Debbie Mears.

Wake Schools bus drivers say they face challenges every day behind the wheel.

“There are a lot of places in Raleigh school buses have no business going,” said Spencer E. Jenkins.

Jenkins has driven Wake County School buses for 25 years.

In that time, he says he was in one fender-bender which did not involve children. That incident will go into Jenkins’s file.

When there is a crash involving a Wake County Public School System bus, officials say they will email Human Resources, Transportation, and Risk Management.

The district says at-fault accidents are investigated.

But unless you look through all the 780 bus drivers files, which are closed to the public, or inspect thousands of emails, there is no way to determine how many crashes happen, where they happen, or why they happen each year.

Jenkins says if the district wants to reduce the number of crashes they need to track when, where, and why accidents happen each year.

Other school districts agree.

“You can’t have an accident and ignore it. You have to investigate it to make sure it’s safe,” said Scott Denton.

Denton is the assistant superintendent of Auxiliary Services in Durham.

He says the Durham School district tracks bus crashes from major incidents to the most minor.

“We feel every unsafe movement deserves review,” said Denton.

This school year, Durham Public Schools has reviewed 57 accidents.

“We keep records of those crashes and we’ll go back and see if there are any trends to make the roads safer,” said Denton.

Both Johnston and Cumberland County school systems say they keep a record of how many crashes each year as well.

Cumberland County has seen 56 crashes this year, 48 in Johnston.

For about a month CBS North Carolina attempted to sit down with any officials from Wake County in regards to this story.

They said they were too busy and couldn’t find anyone to speak but would answer questions through emails.

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