California IN BRIEF : SACRAMENTO : CHP to Scrutinize School Bus Drivers

From Times staff and Wire reports

Prompted by mounting concern over the safety of children who ride to school on buses, the California Highway Patrol announced it will tighten the application process for school bus drivers to obtain licenses. Robert Rengstorff, chief of enforcement for the CHP, said that beginning June 1, 180-day temporary licenses will no longer be issued to drivers employed by school districts and private school bus companies. Under the CHP plan, applicants for permits will be licensed only after fingerprint and background checks are completed. Currently, bus drivers who pass state tests are given six-month permits to allow them to drive while the checks are being made. Recently, two drivers employed by Laidlaw Transit, the nation's largest private school bus contractor, were arrested on suspicion of driving buses while drunk.

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