Law Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Bus Drivers Called For Following NTSB Report on Fatal NY Crash

New York State Transportation Committee Chairman Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) has called on the New York State Assembly to pass legislation (S5171B) that would require criminal background checks for bus drivers following a new National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report that examined a tragic March 12, 2011 bus crash in Bronx, NY which killed 15 people and recommended more comprehensive driver history checks of bus drivers, according to a press release posted by Fuschillo on his official website. A synopsis of the NTSB report, including a complete list of the safety recommendations, is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2012/new_york_ny/index.html.

“The NTSB’s report is just the latest reminder about why we need stronger laws to protect bus passengers,” Senator Fuschillo stated in the press release. “It’s long past time to approve this commonsense measure to save lives, improve safety, and prevent unfit, unqualified bus drivers from getting behind the wheel. The Assembly should join the Senate and pass this legislation immediately.”

Sponsored by Senator Fuschillo, S5171B was approved by the New York State Senate in January 2012. S5171B would require criminal background checks for all bus drivers and help prevent them from using aliases or false names to hide criminal offenses that would disqualify them from holding a license. The full text of S5171B is available at http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S5171B-2011

As previously reported in the ESR News blog ‘Background Check of Bus Driver with Criminal Past under Scrutiny after Fatal Crash in New York,’ Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into the March 12, 2011 bus crash citing the “criminal record and driving history” of the bus driver after news reports revealed that he had served prison time for manslaughter and forgery and had his driving privileges suspended after ignoring tickets for speeding and driving without a license.

Following the crash, the New York State Inspector General recommended requiring criminal background checks for all bus drivers in a September 2011 report investigating licensing and oversight of commercial bus drivers. At least 530 drivers and 460 vehicles were removed from the road by the New York State Department of Transportation through roadside inspections. Other New York based bus companies were also shut down by the U.S. Department of Transportation for extensive safety violations.

As a result of its investigation, the NTSB made a total of 16 safety recommendations to the Federal Carrier Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, and motor coach associations. Among the other items identified in the NTSB’s extensive report were improved and more comprehensive Commercial Driver License (CDL) background checks and records sharing. The full report will be available on the NSTB website in several weeks.

“In the wake of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission trying to restrict use of criminal records by employers, because of a horrendous event, there are calls for even more background checks,” commented background check expert Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR). Rosen was referring to the EEOC issuing new Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The new Guidance issued on April 25, 2012 from the EEOC – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ and a frequent speaker on due diligence issues, will present a webinar titled ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with the New EEOC Criminal Guidance’ on Thursday, June 14, 2012 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Seats to the webinar, which will provide participants a pathway to compliance with the new EEOC Enforcement Guidance on the use of criminal records, may be reserved at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/781044434.

“This webinar will go beyond merely restating what the EEOC included in the new Guidance and answer the question of what employers should do now to be compliant,” says Rosen, who will offer ‘real world’ solutions during the webinar on what employers should do now to remain in compliance with the EEOC while performing criminal background checks on job applicants.  “Although this public webinar will not include the propriety tools, software, and templates of the ESR Assured ComplianceSM system reserved for ESR clients, the webinar will still provide concrete steps that employers can take.”

Rosen also recently submitted a letter of public comment to the EEOC regarding the updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The letter of public comment from Rosen to the EEOC is available at: http://www.esrcheck.com/Les-Rosen-Public-Comment-on-EEOC-Criminal-Guidance.php

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening company accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/.

NOTE: For clients of Employment Screening Resources (ESR) who would like a recording of the special ESR ‘Client Only’ EEOC Guidance webinar held on May 31, 2012 or additional information about the EEOC Guidance, please contact ESR Customer Service at 415.898.0044 or customerservice@esrcheck.com.
Sources:
http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senator-fuschillo-calls-assembly-pass-law-requiring-criminal-background-checks-bus-dri
http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S5171B-2011
http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2012/new_york_ny/index.html
http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senate-passes-fuschillo-bill-requiring-criminal-background-checks-all-bus-drivers
http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2011/03/15/background-check-of-bus-driver-with-criminal-past-under-scrutiny-after-fatal-crash-in-new-york/
http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2012/120605.html
http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2012/new_york_ny/index.html
http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2012/06/06/eeoc-criminal-record-guidance-webinar-featuring-background-check-expert-scheduled-for-june-14/

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percentage of screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.esrcheck.com/, call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474 (Toll Free), or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.

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