As parents and caregivers, we trust that when our children are headed back and forth to school, the bus driver is following all safety precautions. Of course, we see the headlines about bus drivers who have been caught doing just the opposite, like drinking and driving. As uncomfortable as that is, it is also good to know that in Colorado, a DUI is different when it happens at the hands of a bus driver, and that there are more penalties and specifics that keep those people from being even more of a danger on our roads, and especially to our children.
Bus drivers in Colorado fall under the commercial driver’s license (CDL) laws. Therefore, like truck drivers and those who transport hazardous materials, bus drivers must adhere to much stricter regulations. For instance, a regular driver is only considered legally drunk once he or she meets or exceeds a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). For a CDL driver on the job, that BAC is set at .04 percent – or about the equivalent of one drink.
A CDL driver who is convicted of DUI faces different penalties for the crime. For instance, after a first-offense DUI, a regular driver can opt for an ignition interlock under certain circumstances. Bus or CDL drivers, however, must wait out the entire suspension length, according to their criminal sentence. School bus drivers will likely lose their job and probably have to face a few angry parents.
Nobody should be drinking and driving in any vehicle in any state. In Colorado, a DUI when you are bus driver or have a CDL is a serious criminal offense resulting in a lengthy “time out” and lasting legal and personal consequences.