Cellular phone use while driving has been found to contribute to school bus crashes. According to the National Safety Council and the National Transportation Safety Board, the risk of collision is considerably greater when using a cellular phone while driving. The use of a cellular phone while driving is a distraction from the driving environment.
It shall be the policy of the School Board that WCDs, including WCDs equipped with ear pieces, ear buds, headsets, and/or Bluetooth, shall not be used for any purpose, including, but not limited to, placing or receiving phone calls, sending or receiving text messages, or sending or receiving e-mails, anytime the operator is actively driving a District school bus, with or without students on board.
For purposes of this policy, Wireless Communications Devices (WCDs) include, but are not limited to, cellular and wireless telephones, pagers/beepers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), Blackberries/Smartphones, and other WI-FI-enabled or broadband access devices.
The mobile radio installed on all District school buses will be the primary communication system for District school bus operators. If the mobile bus radio fails, and the school bus operator's responsibility for the safety and health of the students being transported makes it necessary for the school bus driver to use a WCD while performing bus-operating duties, the school bus operator will depart the roadway, stop the bus in a safe area, and then use the WCD.
Furthermore, it shall be the policy of the Board that school bus operators shall adhere to all District policies pertaining to staff use of WCDs (see Policy 7530.01) and two-way radios.
Safety will always be the priority while driving a school bus. Any deviation to the above policy will result in disciplinary action as set forth in Board policy or the collective bargaining agreement.
F.S. 1006.21, 1006.22