Distracted driving is unacceptable when anyone engages in it, but it becomes especially inexcusable when the distracted driver is behind the wheel of a large, commercial vehicle and/or has a significant number of passengers. It is precisely this type of behavior that leads not only car accidents, but truck and bus accidents as well.
Many Chicago Transit Authority drivers understand their role in protecting the safety of their passengers and the public at large. But there are also bus drivers who seem to have no regard for either. Late last month, a concerned Chicagoan captured video of one CTA bus driver frequently taking his hands off the wheel in order to eat an ice cream sundae.
The woman was first alerted to the behavior because she noticed that the bus was moving more erratically than it usually would in normal traffic. She then looked up to see the driver devouring a McDonald’s sundae, holding a spoon in one hand and a cup in the other. Grabbing the wheel seemed to be of little importance to him.
The woman took out her iPad and recorded video of the driver. she was concerned that people would find it hard to believe her. She then shared the video with local news agencies.
When asked for comment, the CTA gave a boilerplate response about how safety is their No. 1 priority and that they investigate any claims of negligent driving.
But is this answer enough to satisfy Chicagoans? There wasn’t an accident in this case, but there easily could have been. Moreover, it is unlikely that this was an isolated incident.
Bus passengers have the right to be whistleblowers when it comes to protecting their own safety. But why should they be put in a dangerous situation in the first place? It is the responsibility of the CTA to make sure that only well-trained, competent drivers get behind the wheel of their buses. Because when negligent and distracted bus drivers do eventually cause an accident, the CTA will have more to worry about than simply bad press.
Source: CBS Chicago, “CTA Bus Driver Caught On Camera Driving While Distracted By Eating,” Mai Martinez, Aug. 27, 2013