Vernon bus driver videotaped using phone while driving
Driver removed from route, superintendent says
BY ERIKA NORTON
VERNON — After video of a Vernon bus driver looking down at her cell phone while driving students surfaced online, the driver has been removed from her route, according to school officials.
The situation was investigated over the weekend, Superintendent Art DiBenedetto said, and the driver has been removed from the route.
The video recorded on Friday afternoon by a student, appears to show the bus driver look down at her flip phone and click buttons with her right hand while turning the steering wheel with her left hand driving. The voices of students on board can be heard throughout the video.
A parent of a student on the bus posted the video on Friday on Facebook and it was liked and shared thousands of times. The video has since been removed from Facebook.
According to DiBenedetto, the bus driver was scrolling to find a school phone number at the request of another driver, and was was not texting.
He also said that the bus driver was not an employee of the Vernon Township School District, but rather contracted through the transportation company, First Student. The route this bus driver had served all six schools within the district.
On Monday morning, DiBenedetto rode in the bus with the new driver for all three of her routes so that he was available to address any questions or concerns parents had.
Vernon School Board President Brad Sparta said that the Vernon Police department met with all of the bus drivers on Monday morning to reiterate that the use of electronic devices while driving is prohibited.
“We hope that the bus drivers realize that it is a serious offense and you’re putting students’ lives in jeopardy by doing it,” Sparta said. “So we hope that they will follow through on the police warning and continue not to use them.”