School bus driver loses job after talking on cell phone while driving


NEW BERN, Craven County - A school bus driver lost her job with Craven County Schools on Thursday after cell phone video taken by a student showed her talking on the phone while driving.

This controversy was first brought to NewsChannel 12 by Samantha Cavanaugh, a mother whose two children ride bus No. 106 to and from West Craven Middle school everyday.

"Both of my daughters had said something about the fact that the bus driver had been talking on her cell phone," said Cavanaugh.

She posted a photo of the driver talking on the phone while behind the wheel on Facebook. That photo was taken by a child riding on the bus.

"We finally have proof to it, because I knew if we didn't have proof to it that they would pretty much blow us," said Cavanaugh.

The Facebook photo got a lot of attention and the Craven Board of Education launched a personnel investigation. They determined that the photo was taken while the bus driver was pulled over and calling for help, as the bus was having mechanical issues.

However another mother revealed a video taken by her child of the driver talking on the phone while the bus was in motion. This video caused the Craven County School Board to launch a second investigation.

According to North Carolina State law 20-137.4, it is illegal to operate a school bus while using a mobile telephone while the school bus is in motion. Any violation of this law is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine not less that one hundred dollars.

At the end of the day, Cavanaugh says what is most important to her is that all the children get to and from school safely.

"The way I see it is everyday I out my children on that bus I am entrusting her with my children's lives. If she cannot adequately pay attention to the road, how is she taking care of my children, how is she safely getting my children to and from school?" Cavanaugh said.

The driver in question drove the children to school on Wednesday, but was no longer employed by the school system by Thursday afternoon.