School bus drivers will be under closer scrutiny from their employers, starting in the New Year. Bus companies that have a reasonable suspicion that a driver has reported to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs can require the driver to be tested.
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The law was prompted by an incident in Mount Prospect last year in which a bus driver had a blood alcohol content of .226, yet completed her seven-mile route, dropping off 45 students. The driver, Betty Burden, pleaded guilty this year to felony drunk driving. If a test is ordered, those who refuse the test, or who flunk it, will lose their school bus driving permit for three years. School bus drivers must have a school bus permit in addition to a commercial driver’s license.