Pasco School Board Terminates Bus Driver for Texting While Driving
Land O’ Lakes, Florida – A female Pasco County school bus driver was fired last year from her position after receiving numerous warnings not to make calls or send text messages while driving her school bus.
She was reproached the first time in 2006, then twice in 2007 and twice more in 2010. The last time, she received a five-day suspension and was told that any further incidents would result in immediate termination.
In the spring of 2011, she was reported again, by three separate instructional assistants on her bus.
The Pasco County superintendent recommended firing her and the Pasco County School Board unanimously upheld the superintendent’s action.
She has driven routes for 16 schools over her six years on the job.
The woman contested the action, but was ultimately unsuccessful in reversing the decision.
The school board said their decision came down to safety and district policy.
School buses empty weigh around 13 tons, and studies show a driver is 23 times more likely to have an accident if texting while driving. Texting while driving is an inherently dangerous activity that can lead to serious, even fatal, accidents. Using a cell phone while driving is a form of negligent driving that reduces the driver’s concentration and focus. It takes a driver’s eyes and attention away from the road, other motorists and pedestrians. An estimated 200,000 accidents a year take place due to texting drivers. Additionally, a Car & Driver magazine study found that texting drivers are often more dangerous than drunk drivers. Texting while driving reduces response times three to four times more than drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Although 35 states and the District of Columbia have bans on texting while driving, Florida is not one of them. The Florida Legislature is generally conflicted when it comes to anti-texting bills due to the notion that such bans could be viewed as a needless government invasion into people’s lives. In fact, Florida has no constraints on texting while driving even for newly licensed drivers or for bus drivers transporting passengers.
It is important to recognize that just because there is not currently a law against texting while driving in Florida, you are not barred from recovering damages in a civil lawsuit for injuries incurred as a result of a texting driver. If a driver’s negligent actions, such as texting behind the wheel, caused you to sustain injuries, the driver can be held liable for a variety of damages such as medical bills and lost wages. If a family member was killed by texting driver, a wrongful death lawsuit can help surviving loved ones recover compensation for many of the same losses associated with a personal injury claim, in addition to funeral expenses.
If you or someone you love has been harmed by someone texting behind the wheel in Land O’ Lakes or throughout Pasco County, contact the Pasco Auto Accident Injury Lawyers online or call 727-847-2299.