States urged to keep records of impaired school bus drivers

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Your child is 70 times safer going to school on a school bus than riding in your car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

You simply cannot argue with reliable, well-collected, carefully analyzed data. Unfortunately, there is no such data specifically on the issue of impaired school bus drivers in America, according to Stateline, a news and research outlet (a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts).

A simple question

To find out how many of our children’s school bus drivers might be drunk, Stateline did what any news organization might do: they called around to ask people who should know. Of the 268 agencies they contacted across every state plus the District of Columbia, about 30 were able to report any information on impaired school bus drivers at all.

Usually, nobody has any data on drunk school bus drivers

Most agencies simply had no data to search. Some diligently searched their databases and found no cases, even though Stateline already knew of one or more. Others found cases, but Stateline discovered there were errors made while completing forms or entering data.

Many state departments of education suggested asking individual school districts. Other state agencies could report data on “commercial” drivers but could not break the data down any further.

Local police might stop or cite school bus drivers, but they do not alert state law enforcement or education officials. Accident reports involving school buses may include a box to check to indicate “alcohol involved,” but there is no way to tell if the alcohol was in the bloodstream of the school bus or another driver.

A Connecticut State Police spokesperson told Stateline, “It’s a great idea to be able to access information like that, but we don’t have the ability right now to do it.”