Video shows TransLink bus driver reading behind the wheel
Video showing a Vancouver bus driver reading a newspaper behind the wheel has triggered an investigation by TransLink.
Westbound traffic was at a near standstill on Georgia Street Thursday morning when a pedestrian recorded the video, which shows the operator of the 246 bus to the North Shore looking down at the paper in front of him instead of the road.
"There was a gap in front of him and he put it down and drove up a little bit and started reading his newspaper again," said Rodney Shupe, who shot the footage. "To me it seemed a bit odd that you'd have somebody who's a professional bus driver with passengers onboard that would decide to basically take the time to read a newspaper while he was stuck in traffic."
The driver's bosses agree.
"I know there was extensive gridlock this morning that kept buses back for an hour, two hours at a time, but it's important for us to take a closer look at it and if distracted driving was involved, then definitely we'll be following up with this operator," said TransLink spokesperson Chris Bryan.
These kinds of actions constitute a different traffic violation than using an electronic device while driving, but the $368 fine for first time offenders is the same.
"On a first infraction, these points will also result in a driver paying a further $175 ICBC Driver Penalty Point premium, for a total of $543 for a first infraction," the Ministry of Transportations says on its website.
And one traffic enforcement police officer says no one is exempt from the law.
"Personally, as a traffic enforcement officer, I would have taken action on that individual if possible," said Cpl. Mike Halskov of the RCMP's Traffic Services. "The ticket for that is actually driving without due care."
According to Halskov, "driving without due care" can include things like reading while stopped in traffic, fixing your makeup, shaving, having a pet in your lap or even eating behind the wheel.
"Even though you're stopped in traffic, you're still considered to be driving," he said.
As TransLink investigates if the driver's actions fall into the category, the man who shot the video said the answer is clear.
"If you're paid to drive and have people's safety in your hands and by the definition of the law, I'm no lawyer, but I think that constitutes distracted driving," Shupe said.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson