Kortz: Bill would prohibit food or drink, use of cell phones for school bus drivers

Measure would ensure safe transport for children to and from school

HARRISBURG, March 6 – School bus drivers would be banned from using cell phones or consuming any food or beverages while operating a school bus or vehicle transporting children, under a bill introduced by state Rep. William Kortz, D-Allegheny.

“With more than a million school students riding buses each school year in Pennsylvania, it’s important that these drivers be focused on the task at hand: transporting children safely,” said Kortz. “We know it’s important that all drivers not be distracted behind the wheel, and school bus drivers are no different – they have an enormous responsibility to keep these children safe.”

House Bill 691 would amend the state’s Public School Code to prohibit the use of a cell phone or similar device while driving, but would still allow the use of a two-way radio for communication purposes. However, cell phones usage would be allowed in an emergency situation, provided the driver is safely parked off a roadway.

The measure also contains a provision that allows for school bus drivers with medical conditions to consume food or beverages, but they must do so while parked safety off a roadway.

Under H.B. 691, a violation would be considered a primary offense, carrying a fine of $50 to $100, or a fine of $300 if the violation results in a traffic accident.