Currently, drivers who are reported for cell phone use can expect suspension or demotion, but no more—the MTA has announced plans to fire drivers after a first violation.
In the past two years, 650 cell phone violations have been issued to MTA bus drivers. Of those drivers, 90 were given violations twice, 25 three times, and 5 four times, said Stephen Vidal, NYC Transit’s bus safety and training chief, according to an article in the NY Daily News. In the same two years, the MTA fired 11 drivers for phone violations, according to Vidal.
The new policy comes after an incident last year in which a rookie bus driver who was texting ran into and killed a 22-year-old man in Manhattan. The driver, instead of being fired, was merely sent to training.
John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, said the union will likely challenge the new plan, calling it a “blanket policy that calls for Draconian disciplinary action against drivers based on some manager’s testimony,” according to the report.