This couldn’t be what they meant when they coined the phrase “hands free.” It certainly was not what Mayor DeBlasio had in mind when he came up with his “Vision Zero” traffic plan. Yet, an MTA bus driver was driving a crowded bus often without his hands on the steering wheel and his eyes on the road.
A reckless MTA bus driver was snagged driving his bus with no hands. He was repeatedly seen looking down to read and mark up what passengers described asa MTA generated printout listing his schedule. His eyes were not on the road for a fair amount of the time he was operating the bus. Unbeknownst to the driver, a passenger recorded his reckless actions on her cell phone, sending footage of nearly 10 minutes to a local newspaper.
The bus driver was reportedly checking his bus timetable and confirming that he was making the stops on time. The disturbing video shows the driver frequently and blatantly looking at the schedule while steering the bus with his wrists and forearms. The distracted driving went on for at least 4 stops leaving passengers in utter disbelief. Thankfully there were no accidents.
The driver was reported to his employer and the MTA is investigating the allegations. The driver is currently not operating a passenger bus during the investigation. The annexed article from the New York Post indicates the driver could be fired or, if a lesser punishment is opted for, face retraining. Some folks are blaming the MTA because of pressures placed on the drivers to be punctual. It says here that that criticism is misplaced. Drivers should be held to a standard of being on time. Requiring professionalism and punctuality does not in any way condone the behavior of this driver. All drivers need to recognize that their first obligation is public safety.
There is no entitlement to a position that requires a focus on public safety. Driving a bus is a privilege and prioritizing the safety of passengers, other motorists and pedestrians must be paramount. We are never interested in someone losing their job and ability to earn a living. Still, you have to question the judgment of this driver. He made decisions that placed other people’s lives in danger. The MTA must seriously consider whether he is an appropriate choice to be a driver of a passenger bus.
Bus accidents can obviously lead to very severe life altering consequences. That is why it is so very important that the drivers appointed as bus operators are the right choice. If you are involved in a bus accident your choice of lawyers is also critical. The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have a track record of success in helping victims of bus accidents. We have recovered more than $850 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients . You can learn more about the firm by reviewing our website at www.blockotoole.com. You can also contact this now at 212-736-5300.