Kentucky school transportation officials discuss bus safety following deadly Tennessee crash

RICHMOND, Ky (WKYT) - School transportation officials in Kentucky are watching the investigation into a deadly school bus crash in Tennessee to see if any lessons can be learned.

That crash in Chattanooga killed five students and is weighing on the transportation staff in Madison County.

"Any time there's a tragedy it's very sad. But when it's on a school bus that's what we work with every day with children. It makes us think about what we're doing," said Shane Lakes, Madison County Director of Transportation

Lakes said the school system reexamines their safety procedures every year, but that crash has them taking a second look.

He says bus drivers in Kentucky not only have to have a commercial drivers license, but also a special passengers and student certification. There's also additional training every year.

"I have a CDL myself. I have to take the eight hour update just like everyone else does," Lakes said.

Once officials complete the investigation into the crash in Chattanooga Lakes plans on having another discussion with his employees about those findings.

"Again we don't know all of the details of it yet. Once the details come out we'll discuss what happened and see how it would apply to us or if there is anything we can learn from what happened to make us better here," he said.

Altogether the Kentucky Department of Education lists 38 different steps to follow before someone can become a school bus driver, including drug checks and criminal background checks.

Lakes said they handle that training themselves and despite a driver shortage they aren't putting anyone on the road they don't feel comfortable with.

"If they're not ready to be trained as a driver it doesn't happen. We keep them in class until they are prepared. We make sure they are properly prepared before they take the test and hit the road," he said.

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