Durham School Services searches for new drivers, makes changes since Woodmore bus accident

Image: WTVC

Durham School Services is searching for new bus drivers and monitors. Following the tragic Woodmore Elementary school bus accident in 2016 that claimed the lives of six children, the bus service was challenged to improve safety.

Durham is holding job fairs this week.

Keira Terry went to the job fair because the tragic crash inspired her to become a bus monitor.

"That was a heart-wrenching day," she said. "That was very hard because I have 3 grandchildren about the same age and I could only imagine if that was my child or one of my grandchildren."

CEO David Duke announced Durham School Services made at least two major changes to school buses with hopes of preventing another tragedy.

A nation-wide complaint management system was launched. It connects every school that uses Durham. Teachers and administrators are able to report issues with the buses and specific drivers.

Also, advanced smart cameras are installed in all of the more than 16,000 Durham school buses. Chattanooga bus drivers received the cameras by early 2017.

The cameras record both the driver and the road when it senses unusual driving.

In May, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended all new school buses be built with seat belts. It is up to each state to implement those recommendations. School board members hope to see the change.

"Action on the safety recommendations issued and reiterated constitute a crack down and such a crack down is long overdue," said NTSB chairman Robert Sumwait during a meeting in May.

"Maybe we've reached a point where we're saying about a few things with safety and children that we can't afford not to," said school board member David Testerman.

The search for new employees at Durham School Services will begin on Thursday. A job fair will be held at the Emma Wheeler Homes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Another job fair is set to take place on Friday afternoon at the Bethlehem Center from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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