make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Elderly bus driver charged in Wednesday crash

READ MORE: Elderly bus driver charged in Wednesday crash

The New Hanover County school bus driver responsible for yesterday's accident along Kerr Avenue has been suspended with pay. The school district says the 80-year-old driver met all state requirements and was qualified for the job.

Wilmington Police charged Otis Hames with failure to yield the right of way yesterday, but school officials say prior to the accident Hames had a clean driving record and all of the qualifications for the job.

Ten students from Noble Middle School were sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure after yesterday's school bus accident. Many parents were concerned about the age of the bus driver, but New Hanover County school administrators say age cannot play a role in hiring, and the 80-year-old Hames was recertified by the state in 2005.

"Then they're qualified to drive a school bus," Assistant Schools Superintendent Bill Hance said. "Whether they're 20, whether they're 30, whatever their age happens to be, they have to meet those qualifications. We cannot discriminate based on age."

Hance said regardless of age every bus driver must pass vision, hearing and medical tests to receive their certification.

Yesterday's accident is under investigation. According to Highway Patrol, there is no maximum driving age, but elderly drivers are encouraged to leave more time to travel, give plenty of distance between cars, and drive defensively due to a slower reaction time and in the case of a bus, larger vehicles take more time to stop and start.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



My Dad is 80.5 and I bet any of you that he could STILL kick your butt in tennis (IF YOU PLAY). He is in perfect health, takes no meds for anything and has a mind that puts most college kids to shame.

80 doesn't mean you cant drive, it depends on the individual.

I think it is funny that

I think it is funny that everyone is saying that he should not be driving cause of his age, and cause he got in to a wreck. Well; if that is the case then I say if you are in a wreck then you should loss your right to drive for a year. Harsh? depends on how OLD they are huh? Come on people! No wrecks before this and now, once he has an acadent and you want his right to drive? Answer this; you have a person that gets a couple of tickets and gets there right to drive taken aways cause of points, how ever the person who got a DWI can and most likey will get a paper thats says they may drive to and from work! The person that got to many tickets can not get this paper to allow them to drive?

Bus Driver

I understand you cannot discriminate because of age or color, etc. However it is a known fact that the elderly have slower reaction times than the younger drivers. But he may be one of the exceptions. Imagine, if he did not get into an accident we never would have known. I am sure the parents that are objecting NOW saw him on occassion picking up their kids. Why wasn't something said then? Anyone could have gotten into the same accident, just be thankful no one was seriously hurt. And hope competent driving tests are being done on eldery drivers.

DOT physicals are not always

DOT physicals are not always required when getting a CDL. They used to be, not anymore. When driving on a class A license you need one but with a class B it depends on what you are driving. At least that is the way it was explained to me when I renewed my class B back in September. As far as cell phones go, bus drivers are not allowed at all to use them while driving a bus, this includes bluetooth devices. If caught then the driver can lose their bus license and subsiquently their jobs. If I am mistaken on any of this please let me know.

In all fairness to the

In all fairness to the driver, anybody could have a heart attack or something else happen to them regardless of age that could cause an accident. I do agree that political correctness has gone way too far. If it is not reqiired, all bus drivers should have a DOT physical yearly, especially the ones over 60. I have seen many school bus drivers yakking away on cell phones while transporting students. This could prove dangerous as well as ageing drivers.

bus driving

i feel his age has nothing too do with it cause he was my bus driver when i was in elemnatry school and he was my sister when she was going to nobel and she is now 22... HIS AGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.. he is a very very good bus driver point blank!!!

Um, I don't think so

If he were a "very very good bus driver" he would know to LOOK before pulling out into oncoming traffic. Basic rules of driving ...

Very,very good driver

If you have ever been to that intersection and tried to pull out on to Kerr Ave. from McClelland, you would know that anyone could have an accident trying to get out there. The visibility is non existant to the left. I make no excuse for the bus driver, I have just had a problem seeing well enough to pull out myself.

80 year old driver

why not let them drive if they are qualified.
More younger drivers have accidents because they are not as careful

I am one of the students who

I am one of the students who rode this bus and the kids that say they were injured are so lying so no one should be concerned