ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL)– Following the arrest of a Sullivan County bus driver who allegedly drove while on methother local school districts provided insight into their bus policies.
Carter County Schools Transportation Director Wayne Sams said he takes his job seriously and holds his employees to the same level. He told News Channel 11 that bus drivers are responsible for 45 to 66 lives each time they drive a route.
“We’re not transporting watermelons – we’re transporting precious lives,” Sams said. “What I always tell our drivers is that when you look in the mirror and see all those eyes, you touch thousands of people through those eyes. You know parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, neighbours.
Sams said that in Carter County, all new hires must pass a background check and drug test.
“Our new drivers, between a month and a month and a half, will pass two drug tests,” Sams said.
After that, drug tests are done randomly. If new drivers don’t already have their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), they start working on it with hours of training.
“It’s about 60 hours total, not including what the state requires,” Sams said.
The Tennessee Association of Pupil Transportation (TAPT) provides state regulations that school districts must follow.
Sams said his drivers’ priority was the safety of those on the buses.
“If there’s a situation where we can’t provide safe transportation, we’re just not going to fly that route that day,” he said.
All drivers are being closely monitored, and Sams said he is making sure to address concerns as soon as possible. Sams said they were happy to answer any questions parents might have about their children’s safety.