Thursday’s deadly crash involving a Trinity ISD school van that investigators say had stopped to pick up a student has raised many questions about the use of vans to take kids to and from class.
According to Texas Transportation Code, if a route serves 10 or more students, districts must use a school bus that meets all state and federal regulations.
Those rules require buses have flashing red lights and other warnings to drivers that a bus has stopped to load or unload kids.
But if a route to school serves nine or fewer students, then the law lets schools use a “passenger car” for transportation.
The only restrictions are all students must have a seat and wear seatbelts or other child restraint systems. In Thursday’s crash near Trinity, investigators say there were eight students on the school van as it stopped to pick up a ninth.
Texas law does limit the use of 15 passenger vans to transport school students.
Legally those vans can only be used to taken students to and from school-related activities or events like field trips.
Along with trying to determine what caused Thursday’s deadly collision, troopers say they are looking into “all relevant issues involved in this crash including whether or not the van was operating legally.”