Collier County schools may change hiring criteria for bus drivers

Author: Nicole Papageorge
Published: Updated:

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – A WINK News investigation gets results. The Collier County School District may change the way they hire bus drivers after our investigation found at least one driver with a lengthy driving record.

The school district just released surveillance video of the moment a substitute bus driver plowed into several cars, causing a massive pileup. The crash happened almost two weeks ago at the intersection of Livingston and Vanderbilt Beach Roads.

“Fortunately, there were no kids on the bus at the time and there were no serious injuries to any of the drivers involved,” said the district’s Executive Director of Communications Greg Turchetta.

But, the damage was extensive. District leaders say mechanics are still inspecting the bus and won’t be done for another two weeks.

WINK News found out, that substitute bus driver had ten traffic infractions on his driving record since 2007. It included: speeding in a school zone, failing to obey a traffic light and careless driving.

WINK News compared the district’s hiring criteria to other districts in the state and found it was much more relaxed. Currently, it allows drivers to have up to 20 points on their license during their lifetime.

Now, the district might change its policy. A new proposal would not allow a driver to have more than five points in one year and seven points in three years.

“We completed a thorough review of every bus driver going back to last year, January of 2014,” said Turchetta. “Of that group, there were 33 current drivers that would be disqualified by the revisions.”

But, those drivers will be grandfathered in under the old policy.

“You can’t go back and fire people because then you expose yourself to a wrongful employment type suit. But, the meter will be running from the day if and when this policy revision goes through, then the meter will be running,” said Turchetta.

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