School bus drivers suspended after seen talking while driving

1 bus seen with door open while alongside other bus

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Driving down Edgewood Avenue on Wednesday, a Channel 4 viewer noticed something didn't look right and snapped a picture.

"Traffic started slowing down, and right in front of me there were two school buses pretty much rolling blocking," the man, who didn't want to be identified, said in a phone interview. "One school bus had a door open, and I guess they were just conversating with each other while the buses were in motion on the main highway."

The picture shows two buses from First Student, numbers 500 and 969.

Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson says what the bus drivers were doing was dangerous, and if a police officer saw them, they could have been written tickets.

"They're being distracted by going slow, looking at each other, taking their minds and attention off the road and things that are happening in front of them," Jefferson said.

The Duval County School District said no students were on the buses at the time, but the district said it will look into the incident.

First Students corporate office in Cincinnati saw the picture sent to them by Channel 4's Vic Micolucci and said it immediately suspended both drivers while it conducts an investigation.

"We take this issue very seriously, as it involves safety on our school buses," a spokesman said in a statement. "It is a part of our training that no driver is to have his/her bus door open while their bus is in motion, nor is it permitted to conduct conversations with other bus drivers while in two separate moving vehicles."

The viewer who took the picture says dangerous drivers are all over, but bus drivers should be held to an even higher standard.

"They're not invisible. People look to them for some sort of guidance, as far as their kids, to set an example," he said.