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Bus drivers and cell phones get media attention

Posted Saturday, February 24, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - There has been recent concern in North Carolina and nationally about bus drivers using cell phones while operating buses. Chatham County Schools, like all other public school systems across the state, follows the Handbook for School Bus Drivers. The Transportation Department of Chatham County Schools provides training for potential bus drivers several times during each school year. This handbook is the basis of those courses.

The North Carolina School Bus Driver's handbook requires that bus drivers do not use cell phones or two-way radios while operating a bus. The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that states prohibit bus drivers from using cell phones while driving buses.

Chatham County Schools follows the state policy, and reiterates each year to its drivers to refrain from using cell phones or two-way radios while driving any of its ninety-six school buses and its twenty-nine activity buses. Additionally, the Transportation Department instructs drivers, in an emergency when communication is needed, to find a safe location to park the bus and then make the phone call.

Each yellow school bus in Chatham County Schools is equipped with a cellular phone that is programmed to only contact the Chatham County 911 Center or the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Personal cell phone use is prohibited.

“We are aware of the focus brought to driver cell phone use by the media. The safety of our children is a concern to us all. If we all work together, we can continue to transport our students safely. We have an excellent team of drivers with an exceptional safety record. If any citizen observes a Chatham County bus driver using a cell phone while driving, please get the number of the bus, and contact the Transportation Department at (919)542-2715,” said Roy Kidd, Jr., Director of Transportation in Chatham County Schools.

Chatham County Schools transports almost 3,800 students each school day on yellow school buses. These buses travel routes total over 6,300 miles each school day.

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