Student, university take action on bus driver’s distracted driving

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A SUNY Fredonia student reported a bus driver who was on her phone while driving to school officials, and now the University is working with her to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The college senior captured video of the driver distracted on her phone, and what’s happening in the video is clear: A driver is looking down at her phone for a period of time while the bus is moving with students on board.

Natalie Harden is the student who took that video and brought it to the Fredonia Student Association after this incident happened on Monday.

She said she tried to talk to the driver in person before exiting the bus, but she didn’t feel the driver acknowledged the problem, so she showed it to the Student Association to make clear she didn’t feel safe.

“It’s the fact that her eyes were not on the road. She wasn’t doing her job at the time,” Harden said. “Now it’s furthering…to talk to the bus company, and I believe they did speak to her, and she knows not to be on her phone, but that doesn’t change that it happened.”

It was dealt with that day. A Fredonia spokesperson says the university contract an outside bus company to take students to and from campus to stores and shopping plazas in the area.

The statement said the following:

“The Student Association contracts with a third-party vendor to provide student transportation from the Fredonia campus to and from local stores. Upon hearing the student’s concerns and seeing the video, a Student Association representative immediately filed a written complaint with the bus company. Fredonia asked the company to investigate and take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of Fredonia students.

The bus company subsequently informed the college they had taken immediate actions to address the problem.  The Student Association representative also followed up with the student who took the video to inform her the matter was addressed.”

Harden is happy with the response.

“The fact that they actually do listen, and they’re taking into consideration that we should investigate this and contact the bus company. That’s making me pleased. I’m happy that they’re hearing I want more done that just watching the video and saying ‘oh, we’ll figure this out for the next time,’” Harden said.

While the bus company did speak to the driver, News 4 does not know if the company took any disciplinary action.

Fredonia emphasizes that student safety is its first priority.

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