New Law Cracks Down on Bus Driver Drinking, Drug Use

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Last week, Gov. Pat Quinn approved a bill that cracks down on bus drivers who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in an effort to better protects students.

House Bill 147, sponsored by Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Bradley) and Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), was passed unanimously by the legislature. The new law imposes a three-year suspension of a bus driver’s license if the driver tests positive for alcohol or drugs or refuses a blood-alcohol test.

There had not been a zero-tolerance policy like this in state previously, Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White told WJBD Radio.

Nearly a year ago, a school bus driver was driving students home under the influence of alcohol. This prompted the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The law allows school bus companies to require drivers to submit to alcohol and drug testing if there is a reasonable suspicion that they are under the influence of a substance, WJBD Radio reports. The secretary of state’s office will suspend the school bus permit of a driver for three years if he or she fails or refuses to submit to the test.

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