The New York State Senate recently passed legislation requiring all new bus drivers to submit to a criminal history background check
in response to several recent bus crashes.
The law, which already covers school bus drivers, would affect bus company drivers seeking commercial licenses in New York, but not those with out-of-state licenses whose routes take them through New York. Current drivers would be required to undergo a background screening
as part of the license renewal process. "Bus drivers literally hold their passengers' lives and safety in their hands," said Republican state senator Charles Fuschillo, of Nassau, who sponsored the bill. "Those passengers should be able to trust that the driver is qualified to handle that responsibility." The spate of crashes began in March, when 15 people died as the result of a bus accident in the Bronx. The driver was found to have had prior convictions for manslaughter, grand larceny and driving without a license. He was accused of sleeping at the wheel.