No Age Limit for Bus Drivers

Jean Roach knows the dangers of the highway. For the last 22 years, she's been driving charter buses across the country. As the owner of Chuck's Travel, she tries to pass her experience on to her employees.

"When you're driving a motor coach, there's a lot of responsibility. You've got lives in your hands, not only the ones that are on the motor coach, but the ones that might be in your path."

In it's two decade history and fleet of eight buses, Chuck's Travel has never had an accident. Roach says that's partly due to good luck, partly due to obeying company rules, and state laws. Commercial bus drivers are highly regulated by the Department of Transportation. Anyone who sits in the driver's seat must pass a physical every two years regardless of their age.

But recently, the age of professional drivers has become an issue. Over Memorial Day Weekend, a chartered bus crashed just three miles west of Marshall. One passenger was killed, and dozens were sent to local hospitals. As of Tuesday night, the driver, 65 year old Billy Nash was still in Good Shepherd Hospital in fair condition. Nash told investigators he doesn't remember anything just before the crash and may have blacked out at the wheel.

Drivers for Chuck's Travel must be at least 24 years old. But Roach has never set a maximum age. She believes the medical exams and continuing training keep her older drivers sharp and safe.

   "A lot of the older drivers are very competent. They have much more experience than some of the younger ones of course, because they've been driving many years." And Roach believes, they'll be driving safely for many more years.