Accident Highlights Need for Tougher Background Checks

A recent van accident in Massachusetts, which injured 12 special needs passengers, has made state regulators look at how out-of-state drivers are evaluated when applying for a job as a contracted driver in Massachusetts.

The accident occurred while the driver was transporting a group of adults with special needs to the Price Center when he crashed the van into a parked garbage truck. As a result of the accident, three of the passengers were hospitalized - two of which were placed in an intensive care unit.

The driver claims that he lost control of the van because the sun's glare had distracted him. When the police searched the vehicle, however, they found a crack pipe, as well as a substance that appeared to be crack cocaine. The 51-year-old Dorchester driver was charged with possession and driving under the influence of drugs. He was banned from working as a driver for the state and was held on $5,000 bail.

More Stringent Background Checks Considered

Whether drugs or distracted driving was the cause of the accident, some believe that this devastating situation could have been avoided completely if Massachusetts had more stringent background checks for contracted drivers in the state. The current regulations only require the state to look at a driver's history in Massachusetts. However, if regulators had dug a little deeper into this driver's record, they would have found that he had an extensive history of violations in New York - including possession of drugs and leaving the scene of an accident. Had the state been aware of this information, he would not have been hired in the first place.

The Montachusett Regional Transit Authority, which issued the contract to the company where this particular driver worked, is in favor of expanding driver background checks to prevent accidents like this in the future.

"I would think, moving forward, that this is a perfect example of our need for more information,'' Rebecca Badgley, the agency's Chief Operations Officer, told The Boston Globe.

Unfortunately, more extensive background checks will do nothing to help those already injured by careless driving. If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact an attorney to hold the driver liable for their thoughtless actions.