Sec’y of State Jesse White’s School Bus Driver Legislation signed into law

Legislation proposed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to suspend for three years the school bus permit of a driver who refuses to submit to a test or fails to obtain a zero tolerance for the presence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating compounds was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn. The law takes effect January 1, 2012.

“It is unconscionable that anyone would ever endanger the lives of school children by consuming alcohol or drugs prior to driving their school bus route,” said White.  “This legislation ensures that any such school bus driver’s permit will be suspended by my office for three years.”

Public Act 97-0466, sponsored in the House by Lisa Dugan (D-Kankakee) and in the Senate by Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), allows a school bus company that has a reasonable suspicion to believe that their school bus driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs to require the driver to submit to alcohol and drug testing before driving a school bus.  The Secretary of State’s office will suspend the school bus permit for three years of any driver that refuses to submit to the test or fails to obtain a zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs.

Under Illinois law, in order to obtain a school bus driver permit all school bus drivers must submit to fingerprinting and extensive state and federal background checks to further ensure the safety of Illinois school children.  The fingerprints are continuously checked against the state and federal databases to assure that a future conviction for any offense that would exclude a driver from operating a school bus will result in the immediate suspension of the driver’s school bus permit.