A school bus driver working in Montreal’s West Island has been relieved of his duties after video showing he was manipulating what appears to be a smart phone while students are sitting in the back seat of his mini van was published.
The incident was caught on camera at around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday by a West Island resident who then posted it to a closed group on Facebook.
Global News contacted representatives at both the bus company and the local school board who claim they had not heard about the incident or seen the video before our calls.
“They (bus drivers) all have a GPS,” said Autobus Dufresne’s human resources director Bertrand Lalonde, adding that electronic devices must always be mounted on the dashboard and never manipulated while driving. “We have a zero tolerance policy.”
According to the man who filmed the incident, the bus driver was swerving between lanes and continued to manipulate his phone even after being honked at.
“He almost hit me. I thought he was avoiding a pot hole,” said the West Island resident. “Very frustrating especially when I saw two young children one of which I believe was in a booster seat.”
The director of communications for the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys has confirmed that the bus in question was transporting students from one of their schools. They noted that the mini-van is used to transport three students every morning and two students every afternoon.
Since Global News first communicated with the school board a letter was sent to parents informing them that a newly hired bus driver was caught committing an infraction of the Highway Safety Code and that the bus company is collaborating with school board officials.
The letter also states that the driver has been relieved of his duties.
“A new driver will be designated to this route starting this afternoon,” stated the letter dated Feb. 20.