WINK News investigates: Who’s driving your child’s bus?

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Who’s driving your child’s school bus?

A day after WINK News uncovered a substitute bus driver with a lengthy driving record caused a seven car pile up on Livingston Road, WINK News is digging deeper.

We wanted to know how school districts determine who’s fit to get behind the wheel. We reached out to districts across the state and found some surprising answers.

“I don’t know exactly what happened,” said school bus driver, Diejuste Dalusma.

Dalusma tells WINK News he had just finished dropping off students when he lost control of the bus.

“It was an accident, that’s all,” said Dalusma. “I don’t know.”

WINK News looked into Dalusma’s driving record. We found out, he has ten traffic infractions on his license since 2007. Some of them include speeding in a school zone and careless driving.

WINK News wanted to know how he got hired with so many infractions. We compared driving guidelines from local school districts with other districts across Florida.

Our investigation shows, Collier County and Lee County have some of the more relaxed guidelines in the state. The Collier County School District hires bus drivers with less than 20 points on their record in their lifetime. Lee County looks at each incident separately.

Other school districts in Florida have much stricter guidelines. Charlotte County hires bus drivers with less than four points in one year and eight points in seven years. In Seminole County, in central Florida, bus drivers cannot have more than six points in three years on their license. In Broward County, on the east coast, drivers can’t have more than five points in five years.

WINK News showed these guidelines to Collier County School Board member Kelly Lichter.

“Why are we so far off the mark there? I don’t think these are the highest standards we should have for our bus drivers,” said Lichter.

Our WINK News investigation has prompted Lichter to bring up this issue at the board’s next workshop on February 17th. She’s asking parents who are concerned about this topic to attend.

Author: Nicole Papageorge
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