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What's Worse Than Some Lady In A Ginormous SUV Holding Her Cell While Driving?


January 31st, late afternoon: A friend of mine took this picture while sitting in the passenger seat of a car going through Culver City down Venice Boulevard. She says the bus was moving at the time, and a girl on the bus who saw she was taking the picture was wildly giving her the high sign.

Posted by aalkon at February 28, 2007 6:56 AM


Hey Amy...Important question: has your friend called the bus company?

Posted by: André-Tascha at February 28, 2007 9:41 AM

She didn't, but she just gave me the photo, and I e-mailed David Brewer, the superintendent of schools this morning (was on deadline yesterday).

I suggest others do, too ( in case he ignores my e-mail.

Here's more contact info:

David L. Brewer III Superintendent of Schools

Office of the Superintendent
333 S. Beaudry Ave., 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 3307
Los Angeles, CA 90051
Tel: 213-241-7000
Fax: 213-241-8442

Offices hours:
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 28, 2007 9:47 AM

I used to be a bus driver. The only thing I have to say in her defense is that driving a bus really is a lot easier than you would imagine.

I would caution to ask David Brewer if their buses are dispatched by cell phone instead of 2-way these days. There is an off-chance this could have been ligit, but I doubt it.

Posted by: smurfy at February 28, 2007 10:59 AM

Aside from the potential repercussions from the driver's employer, she is lucky in that the California law banning talking on a cell phone while driving does not go into effect until next year.

Posted by: André-Tascha at February 28, 2007 11:01 AM

July 1, 2011 for commercial drivers.

Posted by: smurfy at February 28, 2007 11:39 AM

Could've been a Culver City schoolbus. Separate system and much much smaller, so likely more responsive. You should email them too, just in case.

Posted by: ProudMama at February 28, 2007 12:52 PM

Thanks. Just called and talked to the Culver City schools' superintendent's assistant. E-mailing her and the supe the link now.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 28, 2007 1:18 PM

No reply yet from LAUSD, but one from the assistant to the superintendent in Culver City.

Ms. Alkon,

This was received and I will forward it to the Superintendent.

For the record, I sent the e-mail to both, but requested they let me know they'd gotten it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 28, 2007 3:15 PM

Okay, it isn't a Culver City bus, according to their supe, who just wrote back:

Thank you for your inquiry. The bus in the picture is not a Culver City Unified School District bus. We do not use the numbering system clearly evident on the side of the bus. Dr. Rivera Cote

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 28, 2007 3:49 PM

> driving a bus really is a lot
> easier than you would imagine.

Thing about this gig is not that it's difficult, or it would pay better. The thing about this gig is that driver performance has trans-cosmic importance. The actual buses themselves are famously cheap shitboxes. I remember when that one came apart on the way up San Jacinto with a full load of pubescents, and the TV had video of Mayor Sonny Bono looking around at the wreckage and wounded, palms outstretched and upward, asking a silent (nearby) heaven: "What the Fuck?"

Posted by: Crid at February 28, 2007 4:47 PM

My older son rides the bus, and those drivers are all dispatched via cellphone. they also use them to keep in contact about dropoff times, etc.

Posted by: Jennifer Emick at February 28, 2007 9:18 PM

Well, I don't feel good about a taxi driver doing one-handed driving...are you really that sanguine about your kid being driven by somebody with one hand on the wheel, and probably, compromised attention? And in something a little bigger than a Volvo station wagon, and a lot less safe in a crash?

Furthermore, regarding being "dispatched by cell phone," if that's policy, perhaps the policy should be rewritten so the dispatching should not take place while behind the wheel? Don't parents question this sort of thing? Jeez, my mom went to school in second grade to tell the teacher I was a fast reader, and if I said I'd finished reading the chapter, I was probably finished. That's just boredom she was helping me battle. This could be your kid's safety.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 28, 2007 9:27 PM

Personally, I couldn't care a rat's ass what the policy was.

(Quick digression: why the hell is it that commercial drivers in California have until 2011 to comply with the no cell phone w/o hands free set, while regular drivers have until 2008? Bloody idiots in the legislature!)

If that were in my boy's school district, I would be raising all kinds of hell until such a sophomoric policy were eliminated. But then I am an asshole (eh, Amy?), so...

Posted by: André-Tascha at March 1, 2007 5:59 AM

You're right, André-Tascha, it makes no sense.

I guess it's just lucky there are no lakes off Venice Boulevard:

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 1, 2007 1:59 PM

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