Metropolitan Texting Authority (MTA)

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If sleeping on the job weren't enough, an MTA bus driver was caught on camera, texting while driving, endangering the lives of passengers and pedestrians.

Commuters boarded a B47 Ralph Avenue bus at Ralph Avenue and Fulton Street in Brooklyn, NY around 7:30 pm Wednesday, July 28th.

A witness photographed the driver deeply engaged in texting on his cell phone, oblivious to passengers as they boarded the bus.  The witness said the driver appeared unaware of his surroundings while engrossed in texting on his cell phone as passengers boarded the bus and swiped their MetroCards.  Once all the passengers were seated, the driver allegedly continued to text, even after the light turned green. When the driver finally looked up and noticed the light was green he commenced driving.

According to the witness, the driver stopped at the next bus stop and again began texting while people boarded the bus.  Once the bus was boarded, the driver, still tuned out, continued texting while the doors remained open.  The driver eventually snapped back into focus, looking up from his cell phone long enough to close the doors and make it to the next red light. The driver coasted towards a red light, still texting while the bus was moving. The driver came to a complete stop at the red light,  and as he waited for the light to change, he resumed texting. The witness stated that the driver became so involved in his texting that he continued to do so even after the light had turned green.

Witness states once he exited the bus, the driver closed the doors and continued to text while the bus was moving towards the next light.

The driver was so preoccupied in texting that he was totally unaware that he was being photographed. The witness approached another passenger who exited at the same stop and asked if she had seen the driver texting, to which the other passenger stated that she had, in fact, seen the driver texting, and became very concerned when the driver continued to text while the bus was moving. 

Oprah Winfrey, declared April 30th of this year, national "No Phone Zone Day," asking drivers to acknowledge that "distracted driving kills 6,000 people a year and injures another 500,000," as reported by the Daily News.

On January 26, 2010 the U.S. Department of Transportation banned texting for commercial truck and bus drivers.

Several attempts have been made to contact the MTA but they have not yet responded.

Brenda Jeanne Wyche is Managing Editor of The Black Star News and Harlem Business News.

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