The extent to which bus drivers in New York State drive under the influence is sadly unknowable, as only incidents that result in an accident or dangerous enough driving to be pulled over by the police can be charted. Though parents may have suspicions, forcing the district to follow through on those suspicions can be hard.
Recognizing just how much of a danger drunk driving poses when the inebriated individual is piloting a bus full of children, and recognizing that alcohol is not the only substance that can cause impairment, Governor Cuomo signed a law that allows for random drug testing of bus drivers.
Though alcohol still gets most of the press when it comes to driving under the influence, the prevalence of marijuana and the ongoing opioid crisis require state governments to evaluate existing policies to prevent this dangerous behavior. Relying on technology such as breathalyzers is not enough when these devices cannot detect fentanyl or other narcotics, and waiting for an accident to happen to employ blood or urine tests is too late to prevent the damage from being done.
To lessen the potential for false positives and assure that the body has had time to process any alcoholic beverages, the law also disallows bus drivers from consuming any alcohol for at least 8 hours before their shift. By doing so, the law all but guarantees that residual alcohol will not be a factor, and that those who fail the tests have done so because of their own irresponsible actions.
If your child has suffered due to a bus accident, this law is a clear reminder that alcohol or drugs may be a factor in many of these incidents. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case to insure that all proper protocols were followed to determine whether or not the driver was under the influence at the time of the crash.