When you put your children on the bus, you may have concerns about bullies, peer pressure or other drivers not stopping for the bus’s red, flashing lights. However, you probably heard somewhere that kids are safer going to school on a bus than they are riding with you through New York traffic or walking along busy streets.
What you may forget is that bus drivers are people, too. When they are not behind the wheel of the bus, they may be like any other driver who takes dangerous chances. For some bus drivers, this tendency does not change when they are transporting your children to and from school. In fact, a recent report reveals that school bus drivers in at least 38 states may be placing thousands of children in danger because they come to work impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Children in peril
There is no way of knowing exactly how serious the issue may be since not every school district has a way of monitoring or testing bus drivers before and after every route. Often, the issue comes to the attention of school administrators and local authorities after the worst has occurred. Police have investigated hundreds of bus drivers across the country under various circumstances, including:
- When frightened children on the bus contact their parents because the bus driver is behaving erratically
- When drivers fail random drug or alcohol screenings at the end of their routes or refuse to comply with testing rules
- When concerned citizens alert police that a driver may be impaired
- When police witness a bus swerving or violating traffic laws
- When a bus driver crashes the bus
Students have suffered serious injuries and drivers of other vehicles have become innocent victims of bus drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Certainly, driving a bus is a stressful job and one that not many would want. Nevertheless, when your children are at risk, you may find it difficult to accept any excuse for substance abuse. In some cases, this includes bus drivers over the legal limit for alcohol during an early morning route, other drivers abusing prescription drugs and some who are impaired by illegal substances.
If your children suffer injuries in a bus accident, you will likely look for answers to your questions about why such an event may happen. The careless or reckless actions of a bus driver may reflect badly on the hiring standards and system of monitoring in place in your child’s school district. You may find it helpful to seek answers with the help of a skilled attorney.