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August 23, 2012  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

Bus driver caught on cell phone faces termination


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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A bus driver for Lake County Schools faces possible termination after she was caught on the bus cameras talking on her cell phone while driving, WKMG Local 6 reports.

Bernita Blake is up for a vote of termination at a school board meeting on Monday. Earlier in the year, she was caught driving 71 mph in her school bus; she was disciplined but kept her job.

In 2004, Blake kept her job at the district after being arrested on charges of grand theft and petit theft related to a separate job she had servicing vending machines. At that time, Florida statutes only required a district employee to be terminated if certain criminal charges involved children; the district has since tightened its policies beyond what's required by Florida statutes.

To read the full story, click here.


Other news on cell phone use in buses:

Ala. bill would restrict school bus driver cell phone use

Feds issue "Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving"


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Read more about: cell phones, Florida


The good thing about statutes and regulations - you cannot diminish the statutes, regulations or policies that are in print yet you can always go beyond or improve your own local policies to address specific issues that quite possibly might not covered by a State, Federal statute or any type regulation. Always provide your school board attorney your plans for reviews of any such changes you wish to make that you feel would be improvements. The attorney, when in doubt, will usually submit your plan to the State's Attorney General's Office for review and commentary if there might be any conflict with constitutional or ethics laws. Once a policy is put in place - it must apply to everyone and not just a chosen few. Also as an example - in order to obtain your Commercial Driver Licence during a Skills Test procedure we all had to demonstrate the very basic requirements. Speed control is one of the common knowledge criteria contained within the CDL manuals. It boils down to bad drivers doing bad things because they are allowed to do so. It's as simple as that. The question is why are they allowed to do so? Should you have go to trial someday will the judge and jury buy into that maybe some school official(s) did not have knowledge that an employee was in violation of speeding all the time in a school bus while using their cell phones? I doubt it. I had a State Police officer pull his Police Cruiser into the shop one day looking for a driver of a certain bus number. I told him where the bus was and that he was welcomed to drive up and speak with them. He had witnessed them speeding. The insurance companies will ask for and receive the individual cell phone records to verify one way or another if the driver in question was in fact on their cell phone during a school bus accident. School board members are also liable in law suits especially if they knowingly hire or retain such a person known to be unsafe. Don't think so? Review your own State Statutes and ask your school a

Dan Luttrell    |    Aug 24, 2012 01:48 PM

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