School Buses Need Interlock Devices

interlock devicesIt’s hard to trust anyone with your kids, isn’t it? Whether you’ve got a first grader in your house or your child has almost finished high school, there’s always that moment of pause when you send them off for the day. Especially if your kids take the school bus, you want to believe they’re in the hands of a competent driver – someone who has their passengers’, both big and small, best interest in mind. But as several communities found out recently, you can’t always trust the bus driver to make the right choices, and what happened this past week is a good example of why ignition interlock devices should be mandatory in all school buses.

Swerving in and out of the car pool lane

A Utah school bus driver was recently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) while on the job. She was driving with 67 elementary school students and some parent chaperones on her bus, and what should have been a fun field trip was cut short by a few frantic calls to 911.

While cars were honking horns and trying to get her attention, the driver was swerving in and out of the car pool lane. For several minutes she continued to drive, narrowly missing other vehicles on the road, until police managed to pull her over. She was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and is on paid leave pending investigation.

Texas school bus driver hits curb

The kids, parents, and other motorists involved in this incident are lucky they weren’t killed. Unfortunately, the Utah bus driver wasn’t the only person who decided to get behind the wheel of a school bus after drinking this week. Another school bus driver, this time in Texas, struck a tree with kids in the bus and was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Two bus drivers driving under the influence in one week will make you wonder how many times they managed to drive drunk without getting stopped, and it leaves parents everywhere wondering how they can make sure their kids are safe on their drive to and from school. Thankfully, there is an answer, and that answer is mandatory ignition interlock devices.

If a bus driver has an interlock device installed and the device registers alcohol on their breath, the bus won’t start. If they were drinking while driving the bus after starting it, a rolling retest would force the bus driver to pull over. An ignition interlock device takes the choice to drink and drive out of their hands, and in doing so protects the precious cargo on board the bus – your children.

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