Rep. Lima and Rep. Nardolillo will introduce bill for ignition interlocks on school buses
STATE HOUSE -- Rep. Charlene Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence) and Rep. Robert Nardolillo R-Dist. 28, Coventry) announced today that they will co-sponsor legislation requiring all school buses in Rhode Island to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock System to protect Rhode Island children from impaired bus drivers.
Citing the recent arrest of a Westerly school bus driver on DUI charges as well as past incidents, Representative Nardolillo said, “We can no longer subject our school children to even the slightest chance that an impaired bus driver will end their lives before they even begin.”
Representative Lima said, “The vast majority of school bus drivers would never place the lives of the children entrusted to them in jeopardy by drinking and driving but we simply cannot play Russian roulette with the lives of our school children for the few who would.”
The legislation would require all school buses in Rhode Island, transporting students pre-school to grade 12, be equipped with an Ignition Interlock System by January 1, 2018. No municipality will enter into any contract with a school bus company nor engage the services of a school bus company that does not have the Ignition Interlock System installed on their buses in Rhode Island. After January 1, 2018 no municipality will allow any company whose school buses are not equipped with an Ignition Interlock System to transport school children in Rhode Island. This legislation will apply to private schools as well.
The legislation will also make it a felony for any person who helps a bus driver bypass the Ignition Interlock System. These penalties include fines, loss of driver license and/or imprisonment for the bus driver and the person helping the driver bypass the Ignition Interlock system.
“Our legislation will send a strong and clear message that Rhode Island will not allow our school children to be the victims of an impaired school bus driver and that severe criminal penalties will be implemented to insure their safety and punish the would be violators,” Representative Nardolillo said.
Representative Lima said, “I cannot believe that we don’t already have an Ignition Interlock System law for school bus drivers, especially with the recent increase nationally of school bus DUI’s. Hopefully this will be the year that we finally take the steps needed to protect our school children from impaired bus drivers”.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903