Barry Fisk and his wife, Leanne, were visiting New York from Britain for a combination vacation-work trip.
As part of the Fisks’ five-day stay in Manhattan, they booked a day trip for April 16 to visit New York’s Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, an outdoor shopping mall.
When the Fisks’ bus headed out of the city, Barry Fisk, who was sitting directly behind the driver, says he noticed the bus operator repeatedly looking down.
At first, Fisk thought the driver was plugging in his phone to charge. He leaned forward and realized otherwise when he saw the driver put on his glasses, presumably to better see the road.
The driver had been looking at a cellphone, watching videos.
That is when Fisk “immediately” started recording.
“I’m going to send this video somewhere,” Fisk says he thought.
The couple boarded the bus at the Row NYC hotel on Eighth Avenue. The trip to Woodbury Common is about 50 miles. Fisk guesses the driver was looking at his phone for “probably 15 minutes, maybe more.”
“If you look at the video, if you look for the screen, you could see that he was going over the line marker,” Fisk says. “The vehicle was actually going from left to right, left to right.”
Fisk says there was heavy rain that day, and the bus was full.
“I wanted to stop it,” says Fisk, whose wife was nervous at the time. She urged her husband not to say anything.
“If you do, it might make it worse,” Fisk recalls his wife saying. “You might make him crash if you get him to stop while driving.”
After a day of shopping, the group headed back to New York around 4 p.m. The driver’s distracted driving continued.
“I wasn’t sitting in the same place on the way back, but I could see him doing the same thing,” Fisk says.
Fisk said he also believes the driver was reading and responding to messages with his left hand. He says the driver took both hands off the wheel one time to plug the phone in to charge.
In New York, it is illegal for all drivers to text and drive, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The trip was provided by Tour America, a sightseeing company that offers day trips from New York City. According to Tour America’s website, an adult ticket for the trip taken by the Fisks costs $40.
The Fisks’ Tour America tour was booked through GetYourGuide, a booking platform that connects travelers with activities around the world. The driver and bus, however, were contracted through a third party, according to Tour America lawyer Mary E. Maloney. The name of the third-party that Maloney provided could not be immediately verified.
In a statement provided to the Washington Post, Tour America stated: “What happened on Monday is absolutely not acceptable.”
Maloney said her client at Tour America, which has operated for 25 years, was “shocked and very upset.”
“They truly apologize for any distress,” Maloney says.
The Fisks were provided a full refund following the incident, and Maloney said the driver involved has been let go.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the location of Woodbury Common. It has been corrected.