Tennessee School Bus Crash Brings Concerns To Arkansas

SPRINGDALE (KFSM) -- As the news of the school bus crash in Tennessee develops, police in Tennessee have put the total number of deaths at five.

Some parents across the country have now turned their attention to their own children and the men and women who take them to and from school on a daily basis.

Springdale Public Schools is reminding parents that its drivers undergo extensive checks and training before getting behind the wheel.

"For us to ensure that safety is of our utmost concern is that there are several steps that are defined in the state of Arkansas that we follow," said Dana Samples, transportation director at Springdale Schools.

Those steps include a Department of Transportation physical, a criminal background check and a DOT driving test.

Samples said that process is where the department will mostly likely identify any red flags.

"Between a criminal background check and the physicals, we would hope to catch any serious disabilities a driver would have," Samples said.

New details have also revealed that, Johnthony Walker, 24, the driver of the school bus in Tennessee was speeding before the collision.

Samples said speed control is at the top of the agenda when training new drivers. He pointed to the transportation department's unofficial motto: slow and steady.

New drivers within the school district attended several training sessions, on top of state requirements.

School bus drivers in the district with more experience are also paid to spend time with new hires by getting them accustomed to the duties and job.

He assured parents that his drivers provide students the safest mode of transportation to and from school, day in and day out.

"We know that riding a school bus is 20 times safer than going to school in a person vehicle," Samples said. "Our number one goal in Springdale School District is safe transport of our students. We want to be efficient, we want to be effective, but we always want to be safe."