In order to drive a school bus in California, a driver must not only have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), they must also have a school bus endorsement on their CDL. School buses are overwhelmingly the safest method of getting children to and from school. Children who ride the bus are 70% more likely to arrive at school or home safely than children who ride in a car. In addition, because being a school bus driver requires a CDL, the blood-alcohol content for drivers is lowered to .04%, regardless of what vehicle they are driving. A CDL holder who gets a DUI will have their CDL revoked for at least one year.
The incident occurred on September 12th in Longview, Washington.
48-year-old Catherine Maccarone has been placed on administrative leave as Longview Public Schools investigates the incident.
When the child called 911, they said that the driver ran three red lights and informed the dispatcher that there were still kids on the bus. The child described the bus driver as wobbling and said that you could tell from her eyes that she was intoxicated.
The communications officer for 911 contacted the school district transportation office, who was able to stop the driver. Police officers who responded stated that there was an obvious odor of intoxicants emanating from Maccarone. There were no students on the bus at the time of the arrest, but she had just completed two routes.
Maccarone was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment and DUI. She may face additional charges after the case has been fully investigated.