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February 04, 2010  |   Comments (12)   |   Post a comment

Bill aims to prevent students from being left on buses


MONROEVILLE, Pa. — State Sen. Sean Logan announced plans earlier this week to introduce legislation aiming to ensure that no children are left behind on school buses. 

The legislation would mandate that the State Board of Education implement regulations outlining a procedure that all school bus drivers must follow to check their buses.

“We have seen way too many incidents of children being left behind on a school bus,” Logan said. “It is time to institute harsh penalties for those drivers who fail to check the bus for a child.  One cannot possibly imagine how scared that child is when he or she misses their stop and does not see any adult or recognize their surroundings.”

A driver who leaves a child behind would face a summary offense. The first offense would be punishable by a fine of up to $300 and a loss of school bus endorsement operating privileges for 30 days. A second offense would result in a fine between $300 and $1,000, and loss of school bus endorsement operating privileges for 60 days. A third offense would result in a fine between $1,000 and $1,500, and revocation of school bus endorsement operating privileges.

The bill would also toughen penalties against those who drive a school bus under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Penalties for a first offense would be no less than 30 days in jail and a fine of between $5,000 and $10,000. The penalties would escalate until a fourth and subsequent offenses, which would result in no less than five years in jail and a fine between $15,000 and $25,000. The driver would also face the loss of vehicle operating privileges for two years.

“The continued safety of our children is of the utmost importance and the ultimate goal of this legislation,” Logan said. “We need to have the peace of mind that the drivers responsible for taking our children to school are trustworthy individuals, and this bill will undoubtedly send a strong message to wayward bus drivers.”

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If a Superintendent didn't report and fire the employee, then he/she should be fired along with the idiotic driver who left a kid on her/his van. If the parents weren't notified then I would think a whole lot of people's heads are oing to roll when this gets out.

Anonymous2    |    Mar 31, 2010 07:14 PM

Are school Superintendents mandated to report van drivers who leave Special Needs children on the van unattended for over an hour and a half?

Anonymous    |    Mar 30, 2010 07:38 PM

Who is going to do the enforcement? Right now, we have RULES & REGULATIONS that are being violated and the State leaves it to the school district to police their own. Until the school bus system is under the Federal Motor Carrier Rules in it's entirety you are just creating chaos. There needs to be a system that requires all states to enforce the rules or just let each state do their own thing.

Lynette    |    Feb 09, 2010 12:38 PM

If one of our drivers leave a child unattended on a school bus, they are immediately terminated. We continually instruct and remind our driver to ALWAYS do their child-checks after EVERY run. Disregard for the safety of our young passengers is taken very seriously.

John Pavlik    |    Feb 08, 2010 11:53 AM

I'm a safety & training supervisor. I take transporting children as a very serious business. The article sounds like typical government involvement. There's too much compassion extended to the violater and not nearly enough to the victim. A school bus driver that's willing to drive a bus full of children while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, #1-shows no concern for the safety of the children, #2-should have their school bus driver's certification cancelled, not suspended, cancelled. It's a privilege to be trusted with the children of others, it shouldn't be taken lightly. If one of our drivers receives a "positive" on their drug and/or alcohol test, they are immediately history and can never return.

John Pavlik    |    Feb 08, 2010 11:48 AM

Zero Tolerance???

Dave    |    Feb 08, 2010 08:44 AM

I'm a school bus instructor in MA, we would never alllow someone who is on drugs or alcohol to ever drive a school bus again. what are you thinking? Obviously not the children's safety.

karen    |    Feb 08, 2010 06:00 AM

If the State Board, the School districts and the individual transportation departments do not already have a policy in place, they need to be replaced for not doing their job. You cannot legislate 'common sense'.

Marlin Neill    |    Feb 08, 2010 04:44 AM

The DUI portion attached to the Bill is out of place and ridiculous, a clear demonstration of how politics destroys working relationships in any industry. Actual drunk driving demands the immediate revoking of the bus driver's license to operate a school bus, seems so obvious, only the politicians and drunks could miss this necessity. How to get that license back and when is arguable, but some sort of evidence demonstrating a willingness never again to drive drunk would seem a reasonable expectation. And then upon a second occurrence? What idiot would allow a third? This entire Bill would do well as an absurd news bit on Saturday Night Live. (JK)

James Kraemer    |    Feb 06, 2010 10:13 AM

Does not appear to be a protective Bill at all, simply a punishment Bill after the fact. A child left sleeping on the school bus is one of the safest so-called unsafe events that can involve the school buses. To 'bandwagon' this issue in the name of children’s' safety does not submit to the science involved and is seriously deceptive on the part of politicians. Regardless, the same driver with three events leaving children sleeping seems too much, if not ridiculous, depending on the enforcement time frame involved. Would myself expect action taken against the driver on the first offense to include unpaid suspension upto 30-days, no court appearances and no fines or other money makers involved. On the second occurrence suspension for one year and also pentanes against the district or contractor for failing to establish a failsafe process when this political issue was not remedied. It is a valid responsibility of management to insure their drivers compliance concerning this political issue the industry initially provoked. I personally can not prove this anomaly is unsafe, even after researching back twenty-years. Left sleeping on an actual school bus is certainly far safer than parents leaving their child alone to walk to/from the bus stop and left unsupervised at the stop. If politics must rule with fallacious promotions of children's safety, then at least would expect a law beyond that of fluff and political campaigning one-liners to get votes. In my opinion. (JK)

James Kraemer    |    Feb 06, 2010 09:51 AM

I don't understand how they would consider revoking your license for leaving a child on a bus, but not if you drive under the influence. This is "Unbelievable" to say the least!

Guest    |    Feb 06, 2010 09:23 AM

I doubt that legislation will stop those drivers who don't check the bus after each run. O tolerance will eliminate those drivers and send a notice to those who haven't been caught yet!!!

Rex Parmelee    |    Feb 06, 2010 05:25 AM

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