In my last posting, entitled “California Cell Phones While Driving – New Laws”, I noted the new cell phone laws that will affect drivers throughout the State of California, beginning in July of 2008. Currently, there are only 5 states in the entire country that have enacted state-wide laws that prohibit the use of hand held mobile phones while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Those states are California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington.
In February of 2005, a school bus driver in Maryland was charged with negligent driving after talking on a cell phone as the bus went down a 25 foot embankment, and thankfully, no serious injuries were reported. Believe it or not, laws have been enacted in 15 states that prohibit a school bus driver from using a cell phone (except for emergencies) when passengers are present, which I find remarkable. Maryland is not one of the states that currently bans school bus drivers from cell phone usage.
Whether or not a given state enacts legislation that bans cell phone usage while driving is currently a decision that each state makes on its own. Any responsible school district or private company, however, ought to have strict policies regarding cell phone usage for those who transport children to and from school, notwithstanding the law of that state. It is simply unimaginable that a bus driver, entrusted with the safety and well being of children would chat on a cell phone while driving.
For more information on the cell phone driving laws, please see the website for the Governors Highway Safety Association.