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Two school buses bang into poles

Eight crashes have been recorded so far this year, but without injuries

Posted: May 14, 2009 9:40 p.m.
Updated: May 15, 2009 10:00 a.m.
 
Two school buses carrying students crashed into poles this week, causing minor damage but no injuries, officials said.

On Thursday morning, a driver for the Saugus Union School District backed into a pole on Bouquet Canyon Road south of Lenny Drive, said California Highway Patrol Officer John Lutz. On Wednesday afternoon, a driver for William S. Hart Union High School District grazed a post during a sharp turn in front of Rio Norte Junior High.

Federal law requires both drivers to take drug and alcohol tests before they return to work, officials for both districts said.

Local districts have their own strict policies for school bus mishaps. The Hart, Newhall and Saugus school districts require drivers to take a four-day training course following a crash.

"Whenever there's an accident, even if it's the bus brushing against a tree hanging down, they stop," said Robert Cutter, assistant superintendent for the Saugus district.

At that point, California Highway Patrol officers investigate the crash if any students were on board, and a group of school district officials arrive at the scene. The district contacts the school and the kids' parents.

Though school bus fender-benders aren't uncommon, they are rarely serious.

The Santa Clarita Valley has seen eight loaded school bus crashes with no injuries since the start of the year, Lutz said. Last year, 36 school buses carrying students crashed, causing a total of three injuries.

These incidents may also include any incident in which bus movement causes injury, even if there's no collision, said Richard Varner, director of transportation for the Hart district.

In spite of the occasional jolt or bump, Varner said kids and parents shouldn't have any major concerns.

"School buses are one of the safest modes of transportation," he said.

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