I am a bus driver and work for a private bus company in Sydney. I have raised concerns with my employer on a number of occasions in regards to children refusing to wear their seatbelts or taking their seatbelts off and freely moving around the vehicle during my school drop off and pick up routes. Cameras are installed within the vehicles capturing the children’s behaviour and I have asked my employer to contact the school and alert them to the issue, as I do not want to be held personally responsible should a child suffer an injury whilst travelling on the bus with me. Can you please let me know what are my rights as a transport driver, will I be held responsible in the unlikely event there is an incident as I have raised concerns to management on multiple occasions without action?
Brydens Lawyers’ answer:
In the unfortunate event of a child being injured on the bus then you would be completely protected and indemnified by the CTP insurer which has issued a policy with respect to the bus. That is, as the driver of the bus you are the statutory agent of the owner of the bus and in those circumstances covered by the CTP policy attached to the bus. Any claim brought by an injured passenger would be as against that CTP insurer.
Also, Regulation 266 of the Road Rules 2014 specifically exempts bus drivers from the obligation of ensuring passengers under the age of 16 are wearing seat belts.
It would seem therefore in the circumstances that there is unlikely to be any situation which would give rise to any personal responsibility on your part should a child suffer injury whilst travelling on the bus.