School bus drivers in New York will soon be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests following the passage of new legislature.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that will crack down on potentially impaired school bus drivers, requiring them all to submit to random testing throughout the year.
The law, which was signed by Cuomo last week, will take effect in 120 days. It will also prevent drivers from consuming alcohol eight hours prior to their shift, an increase of two hours from the previous laws.
The drivers will be placed in a pool for random screenings once the legislature takes effect, including mini-bus operators, a change from the previous law.
According to officials, there have been at least four incidents in the past six years involving a school bus driver who was under the influence.
"When a child leaves home and gets on the school bus, no parent should have to worry if their child is safe,” Sen. Carl Macellino said in a statement. "It is our responsibility to do everything that we can to put their well-being first. This bill will do just that.”
In a statement, Peter Mannella, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation said the new law will help "assure parents that their children are in safe hands at all times.”
"We never want to explain to parents or to the public why a compromised bus driver had been given the keys to drive a school bus," he said. "That should never happen. We just helped ensure that it never does."
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