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Southern California Transit Advocates is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, development and improvement of public transportation in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Cellphone Use by Bus Operators

Use of a wireless phone by bus operators while driving is illegal in California.

As of January 1, 2005 it is an infraction to drive a school bus or a transit vehicle, as those terms are defined, while using a wireless telephone. This prohibition does not apply to a driver who is using the wireless telephone for work-related purposes, or for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency service agency or entity. A violation of this new offense does not constitute a serious traffic violation for purposes of the commercial motor vehicle safety program.

The September 15, 2004 San Jose Mercury News article "Phone limits for bus drivers" notes: "[AB 2785] was inspired, in part, by complaints in Los Angeles about bus operators who drove erratically or missed scheduled stops because they were socializing on cellular phones."

The legislation was introduced by former Assemblyman George Nakano, D-Torrance. Background information can be found in analysis done by legislative staff during its consideration. It is codified as California Vehicle Code section 23125:

At its November 21, 2006 meeting the National Transportation Safety Board adopted a final report on a non-fatal bus accident that occurred November 14, 2004, on the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. The report urged the federal and state governments to prohibit motor coach and school bus drivers from using cell phones while driving those vehicles, except in emergencies.
Executive Summary (with link to final report): http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/2006/HAR0604.htm