Currently, no state requires the use of ignition interlock devices on school buses. But after a recent accident involving a drunk school bus driver, some folks are suggesting that New York become the first state to mandate that all new school buses come equipped with the devices in order to better protect our children.
The school bus accident occurred earlier this month in New York. The school bus driver allegedly got drunk before picking up a group of children after school. While five children were on the bus, the driver crashed the school bus into a house.
Fortunately, the children were not seriously hurt in the drunk driving accident, and the driver has since been charged with five counts of aggravated driving while intoxicated. But now parents are calling for better protections for their children. Last week, a local mother and two elected officials announced that they are proposing new legislation to make school buses safer for children.
The proposed legislation includes making it mandatory for all new school buses to come equipped with ignition interlock devices. Buses that are manufactured before July 1, 2013 would need to have the devices installed in order to comply with the proposed law in New York. Before drivers are allowed to operate a school bus, drivers would need to blow into the ignition interlock devices, which work like breath tests. When the device detects alcohol, the vehicle will not start.
One supporter of the proposed legislation stated, "No one should be able to get behind the wheel and drive drunk with a bus full of children." It is never safe for anyone to drive after drinking. But when a driver is responsible for transporting groups of young children, the consequences of a drunk driving accident could be especially devastating.
Source: Wantagh-SeafordPatch, "Wantagh parent calls for stronger bus safety laws," Andrew Coen, Oct. 22, 2012