Job Safety

July 18, 2011

Without a Clue

Extracts of this report from Carrol County, Georgia highlights what can happen with a fatigued and impaired driver.

“A new report released by the Georgia State Patrol shows students were afraid of a Carroll County school bus driver who they say was fatigued and careless the day he flipped a bus, killing one student. Kenneth Herringdine, 59, was driving 15 Temple High School students on Highway 113 in Carrollton on October 4, 2010, when the bus veered off the road and into a ditch, flipping the bus. A 17-year-old passenger, James Rashawn “Ray Ray” Walker, was killed in the crash. Video released by investigators shows the bus on its side moments after the crash. According the report, the actual accident was not recorded because the force of the bus going off the roadway caused the cameras to stop recording. The report also shows some disturbing details about the state of the driver before the accident. Students said they were afraid of the driver, that he was yawning and not paying attention.

“Another issue raised by the report stated that while investigators found no alcohol in Herringdine’s system, he did test positive for an antihistamine called brompheniramine, an ingredient in cough medicine which can cause drowsiness and fatigue. The report also said that Herringdine also hit a dog on the morning of the accident.

“CBS Atlanta News spoke to Herringdine just days after the crash. “I can’t get over what’s happening. It was an accident, and I’m sorry,” Herringdine told CBS Atlanta News. “I was capable of this job. I wouldn’t have put myself in this position that I’m not capable of doing my best.” Herringdine was bruised in the crash. While he said those injuries will heal, the pain of a young life being taken would haunt him forever. “I’d rather it be my life than his, because he’s just starting out,” said Herringdine of of Walker.

My point in quoting this report is not to dwell on tragedy but to illustrate how easy it is for a driver to loose touch with his own degree of impairment. Obviously I am just speculating, but it does appear that this driver was impaired and did not know it.