New York State Requires Rigorous Physical Exams for School Bus Drivers

Jan 7, 2015

Credit Tina MacIntyre-Yee / DandC

Police are continuing to investigate the cause of a school bus crash on Hudson Ave, including the health of the driver.

Driver Edwin Rivera DeJesus was pronounced dead on scene at the sight of the crash. He was 30-years-old.

A spokesman from DeJesus' bus company says the accident appears to have been caused by a sudden health incident, like a major heart attack. But according to the company, DeJesus didn't have any pre-existing conditions.

Paul Mori is a board member for the New York School Bus Contractors Association. He says in order to become a school bus driver in New York State, you need to submit to a thorough physical exam conducted by a state-certified health care professional. And that's only half of it.

"[New York] State Education requires a physical performance test. So they're required -- prior to employment, they need to drag a hundred and twenty five pound weight thirty feet in under 30 seconds, they need to exit a bus from the driver's seat in under 20 seconds, they need to be able to go up and down the service steps at least three times completely in under thirty seconds."

Mori says these physical performance tests weed out any pre-existing conditions that an applicant is withholding, like arthritis. According to state regulations, school bus drivers are also required to go through physical exams at least once a year.