Parents count on school bus drivers to keep their children safe while taking their children to and from school. Unfortunately, sometimes bus drivers engage in dangerous behaviors behind the wheel that put young people at risk. When and if this occurs, parents of children hurt in bus accidents need to contact New York City motor vehicle accident attorneys for help as soon as possible. Taking legal action can be complicated if bus drivers are government employees, but parents and children do have rights and may be able to obtain compensation if serious harm or fatalities occur due to bus driver negligence.
Bad bus driver behavior can take many forms, including driving the bus while fatigued or driving while distracted. However, one of the most dangerous of all behaviors is intoxicated driving. Just recently, New York Upstate reported on a troubling incident in which a bus driver has been accused of drinking while he was driving school children.
Bus Driver Accused of Drinking and Driving With Children Onboard
According to New York Upstate, officials in New York suspended a bus driver who was believed to be drunk behind the wheel. The potential problem with the bus driver was first raised by a staff member at a Montessori Magnet School. The staff member believed that she smelled alcohol when the driver came to pick up the students on Friday.
The staff member raised her concerns, but school officials indicate that the bus driver ignored the staff member and continued to consume alcohol. This resulted in a transportation supervisor contacting the bus driver directly and directing the driver to stop his behavior.
The driver was subsequently made to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test and the driver’s blood alcohol concentration was revealed to be .04. A BAC of .04 is below the legal limit for most drivers to be considered intoxicated, as most drivers are not presumed to be drunk under the law unless their BAC is .08 or higher.
However, bus drivers within the school district work under a zero-tolerance alcohol policy. A zero-tolerance policy is very common for all types of commercial drivers and, in fact, commercial truck drivers can also face legal consequences including the loss of their jobs and a suspension of a commercial license to drive if they have a BAC of .04 or higher.
Bus drivers and other commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than most motorists when it comes to alcohol consumption behind the wheel because the stakes are often much higher. Bus drivers transport large vehicles which could cause serious harm if the bus becomes involved in an accident — and they are also responsible for transporting children.
Because of the school’s zero tolerance policy, the driver is no longer employed and, much to parents’ relief, will not be transporting students any more. It’s lucky the driver was caught before any collisions occurred due to his intoxication.
If a driver is drunk and causes a collision, while driving a bus or otherwise, New York City motor vehicle accident attorneys can help victims to take appropriate action to obtain compensation for losses.