CBS News investigation finds stunning lack of oversight of school bus drivers

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Every day, 60 school bus drivers get into accidents. That’s about 22,000 bus crashes a year, injuring thousands of students.

But the problems are much worse than just traffic accidents. A CBS News investigation found a stunning lack of oversight of school bus drivers.

At least once a week on average, a driver is arrested for driving under the influence or child pornography, or even sexually assaulting a child.

A New York couple, who didn’t want to be identified, told CBS News that their special-needs daughter was assaulted behind a church by her driver when she was 15.

“He would pick her up, make her get out of the bus and then do whatever he wanted to do,” her mother said.

The family says the driver, Reinaldo Vega, should never have been behind the wheel. He’d been arrested a year earlier on suspicion of child abuse but was allowed to keep his job.

CBS News

The charges were eventually dropped, but Vega pleaded guilty to assaulting their daughter.

“This shouldn’t have even been an issue. He just shouldn’t have been driving those kids,” the mother said.

School bus drivers have to get a commercial drivers license, but because few drive across state lines, many federal safety rules do not apply. So while drivers with disqualifying medical conditions would not be able to work for a company like Greyhound, they could drive a school bus.

CBS News

“Truck drivers that are driving heads of lettuce or television sets actually have to meet higher safety standards than the people that drive our children on school buses,” said transportation attorney Steve Gursten.

Connecticut and Delaware are the only states that keep track of all drivers arrested on the job. Twenty-one states told CBS News that no school bus drivers had been charged with DUI in the past three years, but we found…

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