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Diatribe: The Texting School Bus Driver.

09/21/2013

bus_driver_texting_jef_130920_16x9_608My father began a successful career at a very young age and was able to enjoy a very early retirement.  Too early, in fact, to actually act retired.  To keep active and occupied he began a second career as a school bus driver.  He grew to know all the children on his bus route, as well as their parents, and watched some of them grow from youngsters until graduation day.

While some might call him overly cautious, I think he’s always been an excellent driver.  With very few mishaps in his long driving career, he was always a first choice as driver for special events, field trips, etc.  Parents trusted him, on a daily basis, with the lives of their children and he always remembered that fact.

Nevertheless, he could tell some school bus stories!  Some of the kids did some silly things that were, to say the least, quite distracting.  Driving a bus filled with dozens of rambunctious children is, essentially, driving a bus filled with dozens of distractions.  He would never intentionally add to the madness and endanger his charges or others on the road.

The same can’t be said for an unidentified Florida school bus driver who has been suspended after being caught on cell phone video texting while driving a school bus packed with middle school students.  An eighth grade student who was shooting a video to try to gather evidence that the female driver curses at students instead recorded the bus driver driving with one hand on the wheel while looking down at her phone, which was in the other hand.

A Florida law to ban texting while driving goes into effect on October 1st but, oddly, bus drivers will be exempt.  Texting while driving is, clearly, a dangerous distraction for any driver, but the potential danger is far greater when the driver is responsible for a bus filled with children.  The number of traffic fatalities resulting from texting behind the wheel is growing at alarming rates to the point that it could soon be considered an epidemic.  This bus driver should not have been suspended … she should have been fired.

If my child was on that bus, I wouldn’t sleep until I was certain that she never drove a school bus again.

What do you think?  Should this bus driver have been fired instead of suspended?

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10 Comments
  1. I would love to know why school bus drivers are exempt. To The Googles! A school bus driver has a CDL – commercial driver’s license and it is already against federal Department of Transportation laws to text, or use a cellphone (unless a hands free device).
    Bless your dad. One of my bffs was a sub bus driver and a very good one.

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  2. I’d like the headline: The Unemployed Texting Bus Driver better.

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  3. The problem as I see it is the state of Florida. I was a bus driver for ten years in New Hampshire and am now the dispatcher and I can tell you for a fact this would never have happened in NH.

    Before the start of the school year each bus driver signs a form that clearly outlines what will happen if he/she is caught even HOLDING a cellphone while the bus is in motion:

    1) Immediate termination
    2) A $2500.00 fine and revocation of the driver’s NH State CDL license FOR LIFE
    3) Charges may be filed and the driver can be tried for criminal negligence whether there was an accident or not

    New Hampshire takes the health and well-being of its minor citizens very seriously, which is one of many reasons why I left Florida to come north.

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  4. Anonymous permalink

    Yes, she should have been fired, especially if there were already suspicions of her swearing at the children. This is not the kind of person we need transporting & interacting with children.

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  5. Anonymous permalink

    I did write a comment, but it seems to have disappeared. She should be fired.

    Like

  6. Suspended, investigated, then a probation or firing depending on the findings. They do need to follow due process. Yet, at the end of the day, these are our children she is driving.

    Like

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