Georgia Lawmakers Propose More Stringent Measures to Vet School Bus Drivers Statewide
RICHMOND COUNTY, GA – As reported online by www.wtvy.com, Georgia lawmakers are pushing for all school bus drivers to undergo public safety screenings twice per year.*
The Georgia House and Senate recently unanimously passed House Bill 459 which would create a registry of all school bus drivers in Florida. The drivers would be required to undergo a twice-yearly vetting process to check for traffic violations and other criminal history. The Georgia Department of Public Safety would oversee the registry and vetting process.
Under House Bill 459, all Georgia school districts must submit the names and driver’s license numbers for all hired school bus drivers before the drivers are allowed to operate school buses. The Georgia Department of Public Safety would then review each school bus driver’s driving record and check the status of each driver’s license to determine if a license has been suspended, expired, cancelled, or revoked. Such information would then be communicated to school districts. Every six months, school districts must update their list of school bus drivers and provide the updated list to the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Prior Laws Allowed School Districts to Set Their Own Rules and Hiring Practices
The regulation of school bus drivers among school districts isnot standardized in Georgia. However, if the Governor signs House Bill 459 into law (which will likely happen), the vetting process would become standardized so that the state can ensure every school bus driver transporting children has a valid license and clean record. The only requirements under existing laws are that all school bus drivers must be fingerprinted and undergo a background check, which has proven to be insufficient.
For example, the Richmond County School System hired school bus drivers with a criminal record and a history of traffic violations, which violates their ownhiring practices and policies. With the implementation of a standardized way to regulate school bus drivers, no school bus driver on the road should have a criminal record or history of traffic violations.
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