Your Attention Please: Bus Drivers May Be Distracted Too - NBC New York

Your Attention Please: Bus Drivers May Be Distracted Too

Task Force Targets Shuttles In New Jersey



    Your Attention Please: Bus Drivers May Be Distracted Too
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    The bus driver had one hand on the wheel, the other on what appeared to be a sandwich, or a pastry.

    From the sidewalk on Kennedy Boulevard, crossing guard Brenda Sing did not like what she saw.

    "You have people in the bus," said Sing, thinking not only of this one distracted driver but of countless others she's seen chattering away on a cellphone despite that action being against the law.

    "It gets me frustrated," said Sing. "I'm trying to do my job."

    "What could occur in that one, two or three seconds is potentially catastrophic," said Jerramiah Healy, Mayor of Jersey City. He said area cops need to step up the enforcement of chatting-and-driving and texting-and-driving laws.

    Ed DeFazio, the Prosecutor in Hudson County, agreed.

    "A distracted driver is a dangerous driver," said DeFazio, who heads up a task force which keeps an eye on the shuttle vans which transport thousands of New Jerseyans towards the Lincoln Tunnel from places like Jersey City and Union City.

    DeFazio said it's not just the cellphones which distract the driver's attention. "There are other distractions, including the way they count the money and collect the money in their hands."

    One recent afternoon, a driver of a NJ Transit bus could be seen driving and reading the paper at the same time. That's a clear violation, not only of New Jersey State law, but of the bus company's policy.   The drivers' employee manual reads in part, "reading of not permitted while on active duty."

    Dan Stessel, a spokesman for NJTransit told NBCNewYork, "Reports of violations are immediately routed to senior managers who conduct appropriate investigation, discipline and follow up, as appropriate."

    NJ Transit  followed up to say that the drivers we saw eating and reading are not employees. They work for a separate company subcontracted by NJ Transit. Still, they must follow company rules and NJ State law.