A registered sex offender, a marijuana dealer, and an incarcerated man convicted of stabbing his wife are among 100 felons holding licenses to drive schoolchildren in Connecticut , says the Hartford Courant. About 900 more have a misdemeanor or motor vehicle conviction on their record. An additional 2,400 have paid tickets for speeding and other moving violations in the past six years – including 20 ticketed for speeding in a school bus. In 2000, the Department of Motor Vehicles pledged to overhaul the licensing of school bus drivers after a Courant investigation showed that 300 drivers had convictions for violent felonies or drug sales.
Six years later, convicted felons and other criminals are still slipping past vague standards and the agency bureaucracy to obtain licenses that put them behind the wheel of school buses and other school vehicles. Some drivers have kept their licenses despite subsequent criminal convictions. Among their crimes are first-degree assault, risk of injury to a minor, violation of a protective order, lying when applying to buy a firearm, patronizing a prostitute, and sexual assault. More than 60 served jail sentences. Lapses in the screening process came to light in November, after a school bus driver with a criminal record struck and killed a pedestrian.