I am an expat Aussie who started her school as a 4 year old in the Clare valley of South Australia, a little community that divides the plush green of the world famous wine district the Barossa valley from the arid dry mid north flinders ranges of South Australia’s outback. I am used to school busses we used to live on a sheep property called ANAMA it was a merino stud our family owns large tracts of cattle country further in the outback but when I started school we were staying with my grandparents for a while and Anama was about 20,000 acres and it was almost a half mile from grans house to the front gate on the highway 1 from Clare to port Augusta every day the school bus driver would pick us up he was serious he was sober and he took driving very seriously as far as I know during this time in the early 1960’s till today have never ever had an accident involving the school bus even though the highway that is part of the route is the direct route from both Perth and Darwin and carries more tractor trailers per day than anywhere else in the country. Now fast forward to 2012 New York city there has not been a month in the last 12 where a school bus and many of them carrying special needs children has not flipped upside down crashed into a wall or gone through a house and more than one of the drivers including yesterdays were under the influence of both drugs and alcohol and one was even a wanted criminal driving on a suspended license using a false name.
Who’s driving your children? Should you have the right to know their id so you can do a back ground check? You check the back ground of baby sitters, you Google sports coaches and doctors you interview teachers at potential schools but who’s behind the wheel as your special needs baby’s wheelchair is loaded onto a bus or your baby walks up the stairs?
In some countries drivers are breath tested before every shift, I know this sounds radical but if it was me I would own a home alcohol breath testing kit and would ask the driver to blow. Of course the shit would hit the fan and the driver would refuse but something has to change yesterday a small yellow bus with 5 children became air born and landed through the lounge room wall of a house all 5 children went to hospital none serious thank goodness but the driver today has been charged with DUI . Below is his story and several others from just this year.
reposted from a story on ABC7 via Long Island News
Driver in Syosset mini-bus crash charged with DWI
SYOSSET, New York (WABC) — The mini-school bus driver who crashed into a home on Long Island Wednesday has been charged with driving while intoxicated.
The bus, coming from St. Edwards the Confessor School, crashed into the house Jackson Avenue in Syosset just after 3 p.m.
Police say 66-year-old Frederick Flowers is now charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated under Leandra’s Law. He was also charged with driving while intoxicated while operating a school bus with student passengers, second-degree reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and driving while intoxicated.
The Massapequa Park resident is still being treated at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow for non-life threatening injuries.
Investigators determined Flowers was drunk following the crash. None of the five students on the bus was injured, and nobody was home at the time of the accident.
- As of 12pm thursday 10/4/2012 the 66 year old driver frederick Flowers has been charged with 5 counts of felony dui under leanders law( leanders law is a law that makes it a felony to drive under the infleunce with a child in the vehicle) and 5 counts of felony endangering the welfare of a child
The bus company, First Student, told Eyewitness News that Flowers has been one of their drivers since March of 2009, has a clean driving record and passed all pre-employment screenings, which include drug and alcohol testing, as well as a complete background check.
“We conduct random drug and alcohol screenings, as well as DMV checks, throughout each driver’s tenure,” Director of Media Relations Maureen Richmond said in an email. “We are conducting a full internal investigation and assisting authorities with theirs. The driver is suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. The safety and security of our students is our core value, and a responsibility we take very seriously.”
Seven passengers who are mentally challenged were taken to Kings County Hospital with minor injuries, according to FDNY/EMS officials.
The bus struck the hydrant near Bergen St. and New York Ave. in Crown Heights just before 8 a.m.
Aerial footage from SkyFOXHD showed several firefighters on the ground trying to get beneath the rear of the bus.
It is not clear why the bus struck the hydrant.
Makes you think doesn’t it will you be smiling tomorrow morning as you put your kids on the bus or will you be getting close enough to smell if they have alcohol on their breath?