New York Has a Drunk Bus Driver Problem
Several New York pols are pushing to have breathalyzers installed in every school bus in the entire state. You might be thinking, "does New York really have a drunk bus driver problem?" Well, yeah, it does.
In the last two weeks, two school bus drivers have been accused of driving a bus while drunk. As we reported earlier this month, one of those drivers crashed the bus into a house on Long Island.
To solve New York's drunk bus driver problem, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and state Senator Charles Fuschillo are pushing a bill that would require ignition interlock devices be installed on all school buses throughout the state.
Ignition interlock devices are the same gadgets that judges often require repeat drunk drivers instal in their vehicles -- they require the driver to blow into a breathalyzer in order to start the vehicle. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle won't start.
"School bus drivers literally hold students lives in their hands," says Fuschillo, the chairman of the Senate's Transportation Committee. "We have strong laws to hold bus drivers accountable after they have been drinking; now we need to prevent them from even having the chance to drive drunk behind the wheel of a bus. Requiring school buses to be equipped with ignition interlocks will provide a defense against drunk driving for children who can't defend themselves."
If passed, New York would become the first state in America -- and probably anywhere -- to require school bus drivers to blow into a breathalyzer before doing their job.
As we mentioned, the bill is in response to two separate incidents of drunk school bus drivers in the last two weeks.
On October 3, 66-year-old Fredrick Flowers crashed the bus he was driving into a house while driving five kids home from St. Edward the Confessor School. Authorities say Flowers passed out at the wheel and veered into the house on Teibrook Avenue.
It was later determined that he was drunk, authorities say.
The kids on the bus ranged in age from 5 to 8. Luckily, none of them were injured.
On Thursday, another bus driver, 48-year-old Robert Stundis, was arrested for allegedly driving a school bus drunk in Ronkonkoma. At the time of his arrest, his BAC was .23, and authorities found a half-empty bottle of vodka on the bus.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.