NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The law says no texting while driving, but what about reading while driving?
That’s what an MTA bus driver is accused of, and a passenger caught it on video.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, bus riders in Ozone Park say it was an egregious violation by an MTA bus driver.
The bus operator is purportedly seen reading a series of print out sheets while driving on his route, shuffling them, and repeatedly looking down at them while the bus is in motion.
The video also shows the driver taking time to write on the papers with a yellow Hi-Liter while behind the wheel in between stops, Rapoport reported. At one point, he can be seen making a turn with only one hand on the wheel while holding the papers and the marker in the other hand.
“There’s a lot of problems with that,” said bus rider Derek Singh. “He could kill people in the street. He’s distracted here.”
The incident, CBS2 was told, happened over the weekend. The driver was operating a free and temporary shuttle bus service on Liberty Avenue between 80th Street and Lefferts Boulevard, Rapoport reported.
The shuttle was an accommodation to riders because subway service had been suspended for construction and repair work.
Transit sources told CBS2 the driver was likely reading a trip sheet, which tells him where he is supposed to stop and when.
“He’s supposed to be paying attention to the road. That’s what he’s supposed to be doing; doing his job,” said bus rider Danny Marne. “There’s people in there that could get hurt if he gets in to an accident.”
A spokesperson from the MTA said the driver has been suspended without pay, and called the incident a serious breach of protocol, Raporport reported.
“We are investigating,” the spokesperson added. “He could be brought up on other potential charges which could include dismissal.”
The MTA would not release the name of the driver. And the driver’s union, Amalgamated Transit Union 1056, only said “We have no comment. We are defending our member.”
But some commuters said there is no defense for the driver’s actions.
“I don’t even know why he is driving a bus to be honest with you,” bus rider Armando Luquis said.
The MTA said there were seven pedestrian deaths in MTA bus crashes last year. There have been none so far this year.