Bus company faces hundreds of safety violations

A school bus company operating throughout Washington state, is facing huge fines for not following safety requirements.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission released a 10-page document highlighting allegations against First Student Inc., a company based outside the state that operates school buses here in Washington.

According to the report, First Student Inc. committed more than 630 violations. 

Some of the violations include:

  • Failing to conduct random controlled substances testing at an annual rate of not less than 50% of the average number of driver positions.
  • Failing to ensure that each driver subject to random alcohol and controlled substances testing has an equal chance of being selected under the selection process each time selections are made.
  • Failing to require a driver to complete an application for employment prior to driving a commercial motor vehicle.

These violations come just a few years after First Student Inc. was let off the hook for thousands in fines. 

In 2019, The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission imposed $23,700 in fines against First Student Inc. for 44 violations. 

However, the fine was reduced by $10,000 if First Student Inc. did not violate any other regulations.

Now, The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is requesting nearly $400,000 in fines for these current violations ($1,000 for each of the 396 violations).

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The commission is also requesting the $10k in fines from 2019 that was suspended, now must be paid in full.

In a statement, a representative for First Student Inc. said:

"First Student’s number one priority is always the safety and welfare of the students we transport daily. We are working with the WUTC to immediately address these findings to ensure our policies and procedures are reviewed and in compliance."

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