What should be done to prevent school bus drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol in Los Angeles, New York, and other big cities? Where do we draw the line between the need to respect the freedom of individuals and the need to protect kids from reckless, careless DUI driving?
New York legislators and policy makers are mulling over these and other similar questions this week, in the wake of new legislation proposed by New York state Senator Charles Fuschillo and Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, that would require school bus drivers to blow into breathalyzer devices before being able to drive kids around.
If this New York law passes, it would be the first of its kind in the country; and it might set a president for how lawmakers here in California try to stamp out the problem of driving under the influence in Los Angeles.
Why Are Lawmakers So “Ginned Up” to Stop DUI Bus Driving?
The answer is pretty simple: a spate of DUI bus driving incidents over the past month have alarmed parents, lawmakers, and the general populace.
Here are three:
1. On October 3rd, Frederick Flowers, a 66-year old bus driver, crashed into a house while carrying five kids in his school bus.
Police believe that Flowers passed out behind the wheel prior to the crash. The kids, who ranged in age from 5 years old to 8 years old, miraculously survived without injury.
2. Less than two weeks later, 40-year old Robert Stundis got stopped and arrested for driving a school bus under the influence.
He tested to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.23%. That’s nearly 3 times the maximum allowable BAC level of 0.08%, according to Southern California DUI law. Police found a half empty bottle of vodka on his school bus and charged Stundis with endangering the welfare of children, DWI while driving a school bus, and DWI with child passengers.
3. Lastly, on October 22nd, 47-year old James Sommer, crashed into a tree while trying to park his school bus.
Authorities later arrested him under suspicion of DWI; one girl, 12-year old, had to go to the hospital with minor injuries.
Obviously, this rash of bus driver DUI arrests is viscerally distributing. But would it be helpful to compel school buses to install interlock ignition devices? How could we measure the results of such an initiative? And would any increase in safety persist for years or decades? Would legislation be worth the expense and legal battle?
These questions are certainly intriguing, but if you’re struggling with a DUI charge yourself, you are probably less interested in how to change the world (or fix society’s larger problems) than you are in avoiding jail time, minimizing your punishments, and figuring out how to rebuild your life and reputation after your arrest.
To that end, talk to Mr. Michael Kraut of Los Angeles’s Kraut Law Group about your legal needs. Attorney Kraut is an ex-prosecutor who spent 14 plus years “on the other side” trying to put defendants for DUI crimes behind bars. Now, as a defense attorney, he uses his knowledge of the mindset of prosecutors – and the relationships he has cultivated over the years – to deliver excellent service for his clients.