On the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, an investigation is underway as a result a school bus accident. The bus collided with a passenger vehicle in the town of Pasadena. The resulting force was enough to pin a man in the crushed car. Fortunately, there were only two students on the bus at the time of the accident, and both walked away unharmed. Nevertheless, this crash calls to mind many of our fears as parents with regard to school bus drivers.
From the time they are just four or five years old, we usher our kids to the steps of the big yellow bus and wave as the huge vehicle pulls away. We must entrust that our child will be kept safe while away from our care. That is a hard thing for many parents to accept. Yet, over time, we grow accustomed to saying “See you later!” as they board the school bus.
In recent years, there have been far too many reminders of the dangers that our children can be exposed to when leaving our homes. Yet, we cannot keep them safe behind locked doors of our Saint Petersburg homes every day of their lives, and so, the state of Florida – and many of the other states in the nation – has taken steps to ensure that during the bus trip to and from school each day, our children are escorted by experienced, safe drivers.
There are several requirements that one must meet before he or she can even apply as a bus driver for the St. Petersburg district.
Age. In the state of Florida, a person cannot apply for the license required of bus drivers until the age of 18. Furthermore, there are generally restrictions in place for those under the age of 21. While each district has slightly different requirements, a driver must generally demonstrate past experience as well.
Physical Well-Being. In addition to meeting the proper age and experience requirements, a new bus driver must showcase proper physical condition. A person in this position faces many challenges on a daily basis. He or she must show excellent vision (with or without corrective lenses). A strong sense of hearing is also very important and highly valued in a bus driver. He or she will have to make sense of road noise, despite the din of talking student passengers. In fact, many different physical disabilities will rule out a candidate. There must not be any known physical ailment that might, in some fashion, hinder his or her ability to safely navigate the bus through traffic between stops. There are certain medical conditions, as well as the use of various medications that could cause an applicant to be denied the title of bus operator.
Sober. If there is any reason to suspect that the applicant is under the influence or has suffered with a drug or alcohol problem in the past, the position will not be granted. The school district reserves the right to test for drugs at any time. If a bus driver was found to be under the influence at the time of an accident, he or she would face many negative consequences, including a very likely visit with a personal injury attorney representing any victims.
Prior Convictions. Parents are entrusting their most precious commodities to the care of the bus drivers. Therefore, any sort of criminal record automatically rules a candidate out, especially convictions related to child safety, drugs, or alcohol.