Bus Drivers to be Tested for Booze, Drugs

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010  |  Updated 8:14 AM PDT
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Bus Passenger Describes Wild Ride

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Pics: Transit Driver's Arrest

One passenger snapped photos when her bus driver was pulled over and given a field sobriety test during his route.

Bus Passenger Describes Wild Ride

A North County woman called 911 on Tuesday night to report her bus driver. Source: Bus Passenger Describes Wild Ride | NBC San Diego
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Public bus drivers will be subject to more random drug and alcohol tests in the North County after a bus driver was charged with endangering passengers in Encinitas and Carlsbad by driving drunk, according to the North County Times.

Drivers will not, however, face tougher background checks when they apply for the job.

Contract driver David Joseph Costello was arrested June 1 after a bus rider called 911 to report he appeared to be intoxicated. Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Yancey says the 41-year-old driver failed a series of sobriety tests.

Prosecutor Dan Owens says Costello was charged Tuesday with two counts of misdemeanor drunken driving, a misdemeanor charge of commercial driver DUI and two misdemeanor counts of public intoxication from unrelated incidents on April 2 and April 4.

Costello's arrest convinced NCTD to triple the frequency of federally required random drug and alcohol tests conducted each year on its bus drivers, NCTD's spokesman Alex Wiggins told the North County Times. It now requires 10 percent be tested annually; it will require 30 percent.

"It's a very strong step," Wiggins told the paper. "We did that precisely in response to this incident."

When asked how confident the public should be that another applicant such as Costello won't slip through the background checks, Wiggins deflected the question, calling Costello's case "an anomaly."

"We looked at what would make the most amount of sense," he said of the district's decision.

More than 200 drivers operate buses for NCTD, which manages the region's bus and train systems.

Read more: North County Times

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