Three months after a driver in New Jersey lost control -- allegedly because he was using his phone -- and hit a pole that fell on a baby, killing her, NBC 4 New York caught several other bus operators distracted behind the wheel. Jonathan Vigliotti reports. (Published Thursday, Nov 7, 2013)
Three months after a driver in New Jersey lost control -- allegedly because he was using his phone -- and hit a pole that fell on a baby
, killing her, NBC 4 New York caught several other bus operators distracted behind the wheel.
Eight-month-old Angelie Paredes was killed in July when the pole fell on her stroller as her mother walked her along a sidewalk in West New York.
The bus driver was arrested on charges of reckless driving, using a cell phone while operating a vehicle and death by auto.
Weeks later, authorities conducting surprise inspections of jitney buses handed out green "don't text" wristbands, reminding drivers of the danger but also telling passengers to keep an eye on their drivers.
NBC 4 New York rode jitneys for two days last month with a hidden camera, observing nearly two dozen drivers.
Ten were found to be driving while distracted, including by counting money and fumbling for their phones. One hid his phone when a police officer walked by, and pulled it out when the coast was clear.
Some of the buses being driven by distracted drivers were full, carrying about 15 passengers.
One driver checked his phone 17 times in 30 seconds, with both hands off the wheel for a time. He appeared to be looking at Facebook.
When asked whether he was afraid his actions could cause an accident, he held up his hand and did not answer.
NBC 4 New York reached out to 3cm Solutions, the company that owns the bus. No one answered any of the doors at the address listed for the business, and the phone number registered to the company went to an answering message.
The company has numerous violations, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which regulates jitneys. Those include for problems with distracted driving and drivers who didn't have proper licenses.
It's not clear how many buses the company operates.
The DOT said in a statement, "we continue to actively investigate 3cm Solutions and as with any bus company, will act immediately to shut them down if found to be an imminent hazard to public safety."