School bus drivers transport the world’s most precious cargo: our children. Unfortunately, many school bus drivers do not take the job as seriously as we would wish.
Texting while driving has been proven to be a very dangerous activity, and texting while driving with a bus full of screaming children would multiply the danger a hundredfold. However, it seems to be a practice that is more common than we realize.
In Illinois this week, one high school student recorded his school bus driver texting while at the wheel. According to NBC Chicago, Noah LaBarge was concerned when he noticed the bus swerving from time to time. When he paid closer attention to the driver, Noah saw that she was allegedly repeatedly texting. He estimates there were about four students on the bus at the time.
— The Times (@MyWebTimes) May 26, 2016
LaBarge, who attends Ottawa Township High School near Chicago, chose to catch the school bus employee in the act. When the bus let him off at home, he posted the video to Facebook with a simple explanation.
“So we had a sub today and i caught her texting 4 times when she was taking us home.”
The video has been viewed over 113,000 times.
As a sophomore, Noah has likely already studied the rules of the road, if he’s not in the process currently. He says he was aware that texting while driving was illegal in Illinois.
“I started taking video because she was like starting to swerve and stuff and we knew you’re not supposed to text and drive in Illinois. Why would you be texting when driving with students on the bus? It’s just not right.”
Derek Rieuf, a fellow student and school bus passenger, confirmed Noah’s claims, reports ABC7.
“I’m the one that noticed her texting. And then I seen her swerve off five feet in the road and come back. She did it real fast. What if, like, the bus flipped over?”
Superintendent Michael Cushing assures parents that the school is taking the matter very seriously and plans a full investigation.
“Ottawa Elementary and Ottawa Township High School are aware of the alleged incident, are actively investigating the alleged incident, and can confirm the driver is not on active duty while the investigation is ongoing.”
The school district admits that while the woman was a substitute on Noah’s bus route, she is a regular bus driver for the school. At this time there are no charges pending against her. She was not allowed to take a school bus route on Wednesday which, fortunately for her, was the last day of school before summer break.
A similar situation occurred earlier this month in Iowa. According to the Des Moines Register, a school bus passenger recorded driver Jacque Gibson texting at the wheel while the school bus careened down the road.
Des Moines Public Schools did not waste any time in investigating the incident. Gibson was placed on administrative leave on Friday and fired the following Monday. The school bus driver had been with the company since 2012 and had no other complaints about her driving. This was the first report of texting at the wheel received by the school’s transportation department for any of their employees, says school district spokesperson, Amanda Lewis.
An Iowa school district has fired a school bus driver who’d been recorded texting and driving while on her route. https://t.co/oiSyeTPZrH
— WOWT 6 News (@WOWT6News) May 19, 2016
Do you think the Illinois school bus driver should face charges for texting while driving with students on the bus? Was the Iowa school district right in firing their texting school bus driver?
[Image via Wikimedia]