News 4 Investigates: School bus drivers failing drug and alcohol - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: School bus drivers failing drug and alcohol tests

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EUREKA, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Local administrators like Rockwood Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost want nothing more than to prevent a horrific tragedy like what happened in Chattanooga, where five children died in a school bus crash.

“Its gut wrenching,” said Dr. Knost.

He says the best time to weed out bad bus drivers is before they're ever behind the wheel.

“Obviously, a lot of that comes in the hiring process, we do extensive background checks at the state level, federal level and motor vehicle records,” said Dr. Knost.

But in a review of more than 100 bus driver records from all around Missouri, News 4 found a number of bus drivers who had prior driving infractions on their records for things like failing to yield or speeding.

News 4 discovered close to 120 school bus drivers since 2012 who failed drug or alcohol tests while employed.

Almost all lost their school bus permits for a year or two, but under law, they are allowed to get them back and 80 percent of drivers News 4 examined have been re-instated or are eligible for re-reinstatement, meaning they could be right back to driving routes.

Records don't indicate any recently failed drivers are from Rockwood.

“We would highly consider that and that would not be a candidate we would be too interested in,” said Dr. Knost.  

Dr. Knost says relatively few accidents nationwide could mean driver standards have stayed high.

“There's a driver shortage so it would be easy to curb those standards, but we just don't,” Knost said.

Still, he asks parents and kids to always watch out for any red flags.

“If your child is telling you something that's concerning, we need to know,” said Dr. Knost.

For example, if you think a driver is speeding, tell the district. It can pull data from that specific bus and discipline the driver.

The same goes for any signs of intoxication like swerving or strange behavior.

If you want to check your child’s specific school bus driver, you can contact the Missouri Department of Revenue, here.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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