A Metrobus driver has been suspended after social media footage showed him reading a newspaper while driving Friday, according to the transit agency.
Myles Hill, the passenger who posted the video to Twitter, said he spotted what looked like a newspaper in the bus driver’s hands Friday afternoon, shortly after boarding the F6 in College Park about 2 p.m. At first, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, so he turned to a friend:
“I asked her, ‘is that bus driver reading the paper?’ and she said ‘oh my gosh, yeah!'” Hill, a 20-year-old University of Maryland student, said Sunday. “He’s focusing on the paper; he should be focusing on the roads.”
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said the driver was promptly identified and placed on paid leave while Metro conducts an investigation. The incident occurred in the area of Annapolis Road, near the route’s New Carrollton terminus — where Hill was headed for a transfer. Hill said the driver was so distracted the he nearly missed the stop.
Stessel declined to identify the driver Sunday, citing a policy regarding employee disciplinary matters.
“We appreciate the rider who brought this safety concern to our attention,” he said. “What is shown in the video is obviously disturbing and completely unacceptable.”
While the driver’s name was unknown, the video did provide clues into the source of his distraction. From a close-up of the 43-second clip, he appeared be concentrating on page 20 of Friday’s Express, part of a Redskins season preview package. Express is the the Washington Post’s free daily paper geared toward commuters. Reading the newspaper is encouraged, but not — under any circumstances — while driving, let alone while the bearing the extra burden of responsibility of public transit.
Stessel said that distracted driving violations can result in disciplinary measures “up to and including termination.”