Bus Wreck Creates Questions About Driver Regulation - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/25/02-East Texas

Bus Wreck Creates Questions About Driver Regulation

   No official cause has been determined in a bus crash that killed 5 people on I-20 Monday, but the driver's criminal past has brought forth some interesting questions.

   In every bus accident, the driver's actions are always evaluated leaving many wondering if regulations are too lenient for bus drivers. Federal law requires that drivers pass three tests to get their commercial license.

   But what happens to drivers after they're on the road?

   A driver will only lose their license immediately if they're caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, leave an accident scene, or use their bus to commit a felony. Even in those three cases, federal law only requires a year-long suspension of the license.

   There are two other issues bus drivers must comply with: The amount of rest they get, and their overall health. Drivers are supposed to log all their hours and get a physical exam every two years. But, DPS officers say it's impossible to determine if drivers are really getting enough sleep.

   "Even though they're required to get so much rest," said Sgt. Ronnie Morris with DPS." "Once they leave the business establishment, where they work, you don't know what they're doing. They may not go to sleep."

   Companies are required by law to do a three year background check on every driver, but that does not stop a company from hiring them.

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