Everyone Knows Not to Text and Drive, But Many Still Do
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 10, 2015 – A school bus driver was caught on video texting while behind the wheel of a school bus filled with children.
The story in this case is shocking because of the driver’s blatant disregard for the safety of a busload of children in the Bethlehem Area School District in Pennsylvania. A phone video, shot by one of the children on the bus, shows the driver texting while driving on the afternoon run home from school.
The video went viral within seconds after it was shot. Upset district officials subsequently greeted the bus driver at the terminal on return from the afternoon drop off. The driver was suspended without pay and a call was made to the police.
“It wasn’t just the video itself that garnered the attention of the school district,” said Bobby Lee, of Lee, Gober & Reyna in Austin, Texas, who is not involved in the case. “It was a series of irate calls from parents who had seen the video of the driver’s head bobbing up and down while texting and driving the bus.”
There are three main types of distracted driving: cognitive, visual and manual. The reason texting while driving is so dangerous is because it combines all three types of distractions — the mind is not on the task of driving, the hands are not on the wheel and the eyes are not on the road; a definite recipe for disaster.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says more than nine people are killed daily and over 1,153 injured yearly in crashes with distracted drivers. In 2012 alone, 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 injured in collisions where a distracted driver was involved.
In Pennsylvania, texting while driving is considered to be a summary offense. Fines range from $50 for motorists to $100 for commercial drivers. Since a school bus is usually considered to be a commercial vehicle, the driver may also be subject to other fines and different laws. Criminal charges may be brought against the driver, subject to a review by the district attorney’s office.
“There was no accident in this case, but there could have been as a result of the driver’s negligence in texting while driving,” Lee said. “We represent injured clients who have been involved in accidents with buses, trucks and other passenger vehicles where the other party has been texting while driving. It’s a lot like drinking and driving; the texter thinks nothing would happen to them. They could be dead wrong.”
During any moment of the day in the U.S., there are approximately 660,000 drivers using cell phones or other e-devices while behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Distracted driving, no matter what causes the distraction, can be deadly. The statistics in relation to deaths across the nation as a result of distracted driving are staggering. A CDC study shows that more than 171 billion text messages were sent or received in the US in December 2012 alone. Those numbers have climbed incrementally since then.