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Friday, September 19, 2014
Officials want ignition interlocks for school buses
(Page 2 of 2)
Courtesy Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr.
New York State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr., of Merrick, showed how an ignition interlock can be used to prevent a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel of a school bus. He was joined by, from left, Al Belbol Jr., co-president of the Levy-Lakeside Elementary School PTA in Merrick; District Attorney Kathleen Rice; Susan Walpole, co-president of the Mandalay Elementary School PTA in Wantagh; and Assemblyman David McDonough.

Island Expressway after 911 operators received reports that he was driving with a shredded tire and had trouble controlling the vehicle. The driver was arrested after police found his blood alcohol level to be .23 –– 10 times the legal limit for a commercial driver. The driver, who also had a half empty vodka bottle with him in the bus, told police that he had just dropped off middle school students from the Three Village School District.

Local parents joined Fuschillo, Rice and McDonough in calling for the new law.

“As a parent and as a PTA co-president, my greatest priority is the safety of our children,” said Al Belbol, who is co-president of the Levy-Lakeside Elementary School PTA in Merrick. “This legislation will help ease the minds of parents across New York state when we put our kids on a school bus. I totally expect other states to follow with similar proactive legislation.”

Susan Walpole, who is co-president of the Mandalay Elementary School PTA in Wantagh, said “As the mother of four children, there’s nothing more important to me than their safety. When I put my children on the school bus, I have to trust that the driver is doing everything possible to keep them safe. No one should be able to get behind the wheel and drive drunk with a bus full of children. Ignition interlocks would add another level of protection to prevent that from happening. That’s why I believe we need this law.”

If the measure passes the state Legislature and is signed by the governor, New York would be the first state in the nation to require ignition interlocks on school buses.

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