News

NY Senate Passes Bill Requiring Bus Driver Reviews

In this photo provided by the Virginia State Police on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, authorities investigate a commercial bus accident on Interstate 95 near Bowling Green, Va. (credit: Virginia State Police)

In this photo provided by the Virginia State Police on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, authorities investigate a commercial bus accident on Interstate 95 near Bowling Green, Va. (credit: Virginia State Police)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Lawmakers in New York have passed a bill that would required criminal background checks of tour bus and charter bus drivers.

The legislation was passed Thursday by the state Senate. The bill is in response to tour bus crashes in New York and other states that prompted spot checks and revealed dozens of drivers were holding licenses under aliases while others had past criminal convictions.

There have been at least two deadly tour bus crashes already this year.

On Tuesday, a bus operated by SkyExpress was heading to New York City when it crashed in Virginia. Four people were killed in the wreck and 54 others were injured. 

The driver, 37-year-old Kin Yiu Cheung, was arrested and charged with reckless driving.

In March, 14 people were killed when a tour bus crashed on the outskirts of New York City.

That bus was returning from a Connecticut casino when it scraped along a guard rail, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole along Interstate 95. 

Republican Sen. Charles Fuschillo of Long Island says all new bus drivers would have to submit to criminal background checks and the backgrounds of current drivers would be reviewed when they renew their commercial driver’s license.

School bus drivers already face those background checks.

The Democrat-led Assembly is considering the bill.

What do you think of the bill? Let us know in our comments section.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)