TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A Head Start/Early Head Start program here may require school bus drivers to undergo physical testing in response to a school district bus crash in April that injured dozens of students, the Times-News reports.
The job description for a bus driver for the program, which provides school bus transportation for 3- and 4-year-old preschool students, includes requirements such as being able to lift 50 pounds, but there isn’t a way to prove current and prospective drivers can do that, according to the newspaper. Mancole Fedder, the program director for the College of Southern Idaho’s Head Start/Early Head Start program said that he is working with a state nonprofit health care system to develop a post-employment screening for bus drivers.
The proposed screening would include range of motion and grip strength, and would be part of a required U.S. Department of Transportation physical, according to the newspaper. It would cost $25 for every 15 minutes and would take most drivers 30 minutes to complete. Fedder presented the proposed plan to the college’s board of trustees on Monday.
The proposal follows an April 18 crash in Idaho that injured dozens of students when, as previously reported, Blaine County School District bus driver Richard Mecham drove off the right shoulder of the road, overcorrected, and rolled the vehicle while transporting a junior high track team, according to Idaho State Police. A police report stated that Mecham was asleep, drowsy, or fatigued while operating the school bus. Mecham was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving in June.