Safety and OSHA News

School bus driver using cell phone before fatal crash

Investigators say a school bus driver was talking on his cell phone and listening to music on an MP3 player during his morning run leading up to a fatal crash. On top of that, the driver was previously involved in a fatal vehicle crash while dialing his cell phone.

Police say Frederick Poust III didn’t stop before attempting a left turn into a middle school complex in suburban Philadelphia. Poust allegedly turned directly into the path of a car. The car’s passenger was killed and its driver was seriously injured. None of the 45 children on the bus were injured. Poust wasn’t using his cell phone at the moment of the crash.

Poust faces vehicular homicide charges in addition to 46 counts of reckless endangerment. He’s being held in jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.

The school bus driver was involved in another fatal crash in 1999. Poust was dialing his cell phone when he ran a stop sign and broad-sided another car. A two-year-old girl in the car was killed. Poust was cited with careless driving and a stop sign violation and fined $50.

Poust’s employer, Student Transportation of America, said it checked his driving record, but the screening didn’t reveal the 1999 accident.

Bus camera footage retrieved from Poust’s bus shows he allegedly blew through 10 stop signs on the morning of the fatal accident.

The story calls into question how often school bus cameras are checked by the transportation companies or school districts using them.

Do you think the transportation company involved in this fatality should also be held responsible? How can transportation companies be sure their drivers don’t have previous violations, such as Poust’s, on their records? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.

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  1. The transportation company should be held accountable for it’s employees. It is their responsibility to ensure the safety of the students while in their care. Since they hired a driver and didn’t check or overlooked his previous driving record they are partially to blame. It is their respoonsibility to hire drivers that are as safe as possible period!!!!

  2. Melissa Hinshaw says:

    The company will be liable for the actions of its employees but they may not be negligent if they performed all of the required background checks. While the prior accident did not show up on his driving record, why wasn’t it included in his criminal background check. I am also concerned they they do not monitor their own recording devices for unsafe behaviors. that would be wonderful to have in my trucks.

  3. I agree, Scott. And that driver should be taken off the streets! This is as bad as DUI!

    What is wrong with us that we can’t get it into our heads that driving while texting, dialing, or practicing any other distraction is DANGEROUS!?!?

  4. What about the legal authorities and the justice system? Who ever heard of a $50 fine for vehicular manslaughter!? AND it sounds as if the records of the charge were sealed! Unbelievable!!! I wouldn’t live in PA for all the money in the world!

  5. I don’t think the transportation company is liable since they did a background check on him. But, I would go back and do a check up on the 1999 accident and find out why he was only cited with careless driving and $50 fine. Especially, why and who did not enter that into the DOL/DMV records. Sounds like a cover up to me that cost 2 lives now. Mr Poust needs to go to jail for a very long time and never be allowed a drivers license ever again.

  6. Most companies should have ride along/ follow behind secret observations of company drivers. Very common in trucking companies. Should be done for school buses as well. Wonder if this is the type of company that has “hows my driving” 1-800 bumper stickers on the back? and I wonder if the driver on perpose rip/ paint over/ put a blob of grease on the stickers to block call ins about bad driving? He deserves the death penalty. Obvioulsy he doesnt give a crap. didnt learn from the first “accidental” kill. The world does not need people like this.

  7. This is horrible. Too many accidents have been caused for using cellphones while driving.

  8. PLEASE READ-not hateful, just so passionate about my job, “my kids” and their precious lives be risked uselessly.
    YES, a resounding, YES!!! I am a school bus driver. We have the same problem. The boss himself has been seen using his cell phone and driving. If you are in his good graces, you get away with it. Students have given their principal pic of these drivers and nothing is done. Understand too…It is against the DOT/Federal Laws for a school bus driver to use their cell phone unless the bus is parked with the spring/emergency brake on. However, here is the loop hole: If a driver is caught driving and using a cell phone, it is left up to the discretion of the Superintendent to administer what he/she feels is appropriate disciplinary actions against that driver. In the case at our school system, he/she looks with a blind eye for certain individual. Even the school board, has been show the pictures and statements written by parents, students and even a police officer. The good old boy system is alive and well here. It is so said, but it’s going to coast many students their life or limb before the federal government takes over and makes the penalty to fit the crime uniformed and mandatory. OR…. Parents getting together and saying enough and forces DOT to put real penalties on the books. You are suppose to be suspended and possibility of losing your CDL statue, but totally left to the superintendent what happens.

  9. Sandra, this is the sad thruth. I follow many school buses on my way to and from work. I have caught numerous drivers using cell phones, even texting (that is illegal in my state), blowing through red lights and stop signs of VERY dangerous intersections. I have reported to the “How’s my driving” numbers, called the school, called the busing company, even talked to the driver myself. I am not a parent but I seriously consider NOT letting my children ride with such irresponsible drivers. I think the state should employ follow along drivers and these drivers should be suspended for offenses and fired after repeat offense. As for this guy, he should have had his lisence taken away after the first offense. I can’t believe nothing is being done about this, does no one care who’s hands their children’s lives are in?!

  10. i’m a safety supervisor for a school bus co. in Kansas City,And we do a very good job with follow up checks on our drivers. We also check our tapes on a daily bases. When it comes to drivers. They are going to do what the want to do no matter what . Keep in mind that they are grown ups. And no matter who it is you can’t change the way that they are. But as a safety supervisor for my co. One of the biggest things that I face is having to go to a grown person like a child and tell them something that they should already be aware of. And that is what if it was your child on a bus with a driver and he was doing the same thing that this driver was doing in this story. Most of the time the would say the same thing. ( I wouldn’t want my child riding with that driver.) So what we do here is the first time is a written warning and the second one is they are no longer with this company. somethings you just can’t put up with and that is one of them,.Taking the life of some one

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