School bus texting driving controversy: Hillsborough bus driver appears to be texting at the wheel

District pulled bus driver after Wednesday's route

TAMPA, Fla. - Cell phone video shot by a 14-year-old student appears to show a Hillsborough County school bus driver texting behind the wheel.

Venus Cotto-Silva's daughter took the video last week on her way home from school on a bus packed with kids.

It clearly shows the female driver holding one hand on the wheel, and the other on her cell phone.

"When she showed me the video I just couldn't believe it," said Cotto-Silva.

At the very end of the video, the Cotto family believes the driver is seen drifting into the other lane of traffic and grabbing the wheel just in time.

Video for mobile users: http://bit.ly/1aQEYIM

"You're supposed to get them from point A to point B in a safe condition. That's not safe at all," she said. "Not only are you going to kill a driver, you're going to kill the children on that bus."

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We shared the video with the Hillsborough County School District Tuesday night.

District Spokesman Steve Hegarty called the video "troubling."

"We do have a policy against texting and using a mobile device while you're driving a school bus," he said. "I don't know exactly who that is in the video, we'll have to look into that. You have given us a bus number and we'll check into that."

That was Tuesday night, and according to the Cotto family, the bus driver was still behind the wheel on Wednesday.

We have since learned the districted pulled the driver after Wednesday's bus route. The driver is now on "non-bus" duty, pending the outcome of their investigation.

"I'm scared for the kids -- all of them. Not just my niece, everyone one of them on that bus," said Noah Cotto, the student's uncle.

Hegarty says they are now working to determine exactly what the driver was doing, before they dish out the punishment.

Florida is one of several states that does not have a specific law on the books that makes it illegal for bus drivers to text.

However, a texting ban for all drivers in Florida goes into effect on October 1, 2013.


 

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