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School bus drivers may be barred from using cell phones

Wisconsin lawmakers are considering a ban on using cell phones behind the wheel - not for all motorists, just school bus drivers. The author of the bill is Republican Rep. Samantha Kerkman of Powers Lake. She says the legislation she's proposing ...

Wisconsin lawmakers are considering a ban on using cell phones behind the wheel - not for all motorists, just school bus drivers. The author of the bill is Republican Rep. Samantha Kerkman of Powers Lake. She says the legislation she's proposing will affect many children, including her own, "My little guy's getting on the school bus for the first time. It's an exciting time in our household for him to take the bus."

The bill prohibits a school bus driver from using a cell phone while the bus is operating. This includes a parked bus waiting for passengers. Rep. Andy Jorgenson of Fort Atkinson says clarity is needed so bus drivers can take calls without endangering anyone, "You're sitting at a stop. Maybe there's isn't any kids coming on at all but yet if that cell phone rings you're going to be in violation? Sometimes a bus driver's got sit at a spot for a while before the kids do come. "

Many bus companies already have safety policies on cell phone use. Cumberland Bus Service owner John Peichle says he lets his drivers have their own cell phones, but tells them not to use them while driving, "Do I want them driving, talking and texting? No. But can they pull over, call me? Yes."

Under the proposal, the first violation is a $200 fine. A second offense within two years would result in loss of school bus driving privileges.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONTRANSPORTATION
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