How do you know if your kid's school bus driver is safe?

How do you know if your kid's school bus driver is safe?

May 5, 2006

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE)-- 6 News investigates how you can be sure your kids are safe on the school bus after a driver was involved in a crash Thursday.

There are over 100 bus contractors and 500 individual drivers in Knox County alone, so how do officials keep up with them all?

Bus contractor Steve Bean says it's tough to find good bus drivers but Knox County has a strict screening process and pulls from a list of approved drivers. Bean explains why it's so important. "If one kid got hurt, it would just be terrible."

Knox County Schools spokesman Russ Oaks explains, "Once an individual is on the list and once they're driving, then the contractor is supposed to provide a report to us of any incidents that occur with that individual."

If there are violations while they transport Knox County kids, contractors are expected to take swift and appropriate action. Bean's reaction is, "Let's get them off the road because the children of Knox County are the most important things we've got."

All bus drivers must have a commercial driver's license, pass a criminal background check, take a drug and alcohol test and submit to random testing. Bus drivers take a safety course and have yearly physicals. Also, while on the job, a bus driver must inspect the bus twice a day.

Parents need to be proactive as well. The Knox County School System wants you to report any problem with a bus or bus driver. You can do that by calling the transportation department at 594-1550. They say they will investigate all reports.

If you want to know who's driving your kids, Knox County Schools web site has a list. And if you want to know what's in a driver's non-medical personnel file, school officials say all you have to do is ask.

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