DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Area Rapid Transit drivers were sent a warning late Wednesday after one of its bus operators was caught apparently reading a book while driving.
A photograph of the driver reading was posted on the Internet. DART officials then used the picture in a bulletin sent to all its drivers titled “Distracted Driving.”
“We will take action with this individual employee,” said DART Vice President Tim Newby.
He could not, however; specify what disciplinary action would be taken until he said he learned all the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Newby added he was surprised by the photograph especially since DART has recently made great strides in curbing distracted driving behaviors and since the dangers of distracted driving was emphasized in this quarter’s safety meetings.
Some bus riders at the Mockingbird Station on Thursday, however; were not as surprised by the picture.
“I’ve seen drivers on their cell phones texting,” said rider Hans Kurtz.
“I’ve seen them eating their whole lunches, peeling oranges while driving,” said fellow rider Nathan Clingan.
In the past year DART wrote up 16 drivers for using an electronic device while driving, but compared to a few years ago the agency said the number of complaints from riders about distracted drivers is down sharply.
“And that’s because we have taken a hard stance with our employees about how that’s not acceptable,” said Newby.
Along with additional training, DART has started installing cameras in its new buses.
It also recently kicked-off the Mr. Ride program where an undercover employee checks-up on an unsuspecting driver.
As of Thursday, DART officials said they were still working on identifying the driver reading in the picture.