East Texas School Bus Safety

Mary Shepherd has been driving school buses for 29 years. So she knows the importance of school bus safety.

"As far as transporting students back and forth from home to school, safety is important because you protect those kids as well as your life if you drive correctly and properly," Shepherd said.

That's why Nacogdoches is among the school districts supporting a recent recommendation from the American School Bus Council. It calls for a ban on bus drivers using cell phones when buses are moving or when students are getting on and off.

"When you're responsible for anywhere between 55 to 70 students, then it becomes imperative that every precaution be taken," said Nacogdoches ISD Director of Transportation Loy Walker.

Nacogdoches bus drivers will be allowed to use cell phones in emergency situations but only after taking certain precautions.

"What we inform our drivers is that they should never use a cell phone in transit while driving students. We inform the drivers they should find a safe haven, they should pull over to the side of the road, and then make the call," Walker said.

School bus safety has always been a major focus in the district. The new cell phone rules are just the latest step in keeping it a top priority.