Just one day after the horrific limo crash that killed four women in Cutchogue, another commercial driver, with 45 lives in his hands, did something to remind us again that even acting responsibly can put your life at risk.
A passenger's cellphone footage -- for an entire 22 seconds -- captured the driver of a party bus texting while navigating the bus through the Hamptons. If he was driving 55 mph, he would have covered the length of four football fields with alarming negligence. No one died, but if it wasn't for the video, we might not know how bad it is on Long Island's roads. The video, posted to Facebook on Sunday, has been viewed more than 100,000 times. Paired with the hashtag, "#itcanwait," it has been shared more than 5,000 times.
The driver was rightfully fired but only after the video was posted. Amanda Castellano, 24, the organizer of a day of wine tasting and beach time, didn't hear from the company until the video was posted.
Shaming works after the fact but that's no guarantee of prevention.
Vehicle-for-hire companies should immediately look at installing low-cost, cellphone-blocking technology. Internal cameras might be necessary as well to get drivers to act responsibly. And there must be harsher punishments for those we trust when we don't trust ourselves. The video and passenger accounts may be enough to support criminal charges. Under state law those under 21 receive a 120-day license suspension for texting while driving. What about older folks?
The video is stunning evidence of distracted driving. Before criticizing the driver, determine whether you're guilty of the same offense. We, the drivers, must police ourselves so that a Facebook video won't have to.