Should School Busses Be Equipped With Ignition Interlock Devices?

Lawmakers in New York are considering mandating that Ignition Interlock Devices be installed on all school busses after two separate incidents in which bus drivers were found to be intoxicated.

The most recent incident involved a bus driver who left the school with 5 child passengers on board and, moments later, crashed into a nearby house. Luckily, none of the children were hurt. The driver was charged with several DUI counts as well as several counts of endangering a child and reckless endangerment. Some New York lawmakers have seized on the incident to call for requiring that alcohol monitor systems known as ignition interlock be installed on all new school busses.

Although no children were hurt, the bus driver was hospitalized after the DUI incident. This was not the only recent incident with a school bus driver driving while intoxicated in New York either. A few weeks after that crash, a bus driver was pulled over on Long Island and found to have a BAC of. 23, which is over ten times the legal limit for a commercial driver.

The initiative to mandate that the alcohol monitor devices known as ignition interlock be installed on all new school busses is being spearheaded by New York State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr., Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, and Assemblyman David McDonough. It would not go into effect until July 1, 2013 and many questions are still left unanswered.

Questions like: What happens if a driver fails the alcohol monitor test? Would police be notified? How would children then get to school? How do they guard against impairment from other types of drugs or even lack of sleep? Hopefully these questions will get answered before the law gets passed.