Queensland bus drivers being taken off roads for putting lives at risk

Damien Hansen

FIRST ON 7: South East Queensland bus drivers are being taken off the road and having their licences binned for putting the lives of their passengers at risk.

The drivers' peak body said it supports the removal of any driver who does not uphold the industry's high standards.

One bus driver told 7 News last month how he had driven while high and in control of a bus full of children.

A Gold Coast bus driver told 7 News how he had driven kids to school while high. Photo: 7 News

He said, "I have been smoking marijuana for 25 years every day pretty heavy and I used to drive kids to school".

The Gold Coast driver’s frank confession prompted a 7 News investigation to establish how many more drugged up drivers were putting lives at risk.

That investigation found that more than 100 drivers of privately owned buses have been forced off the road since January last year.

Figures obtained through ‘right to information’ legislation showed 112 bus drivers’ government-issued "authorisation to drive" was suspended, with 67 then cancelled.

The Department of Main Roads and Transport took 57 drivers off the road for a range of issues, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Queensland Bus Industry Council said it represents thousands of drivers throughout the State and that “the fact that such a minuscule percentage of drivers were found to have breached their authorisation shows how safe Queensland buses are.”

It comes as Health Department figures released exclusively to 7 News show roadside drug testing in Queensland, while largely effective, is not infallible.

Of 9,795 positive saliva samples collected and sent to the state's forensic headquarters at the John Tonge Centre, 50 came back clear after further analysis.