Texting while driving is the newest form of distraction on U.S. roadways, and it’s causing a surge in car accidents. Unfortunately, the problem might be more widespread than you imagine. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that between sunrise and sunset, there are 660,000 Americans texting behind the wheel at any given moment.
Apparently, this terrifying statistic includes our public bus drivers. At 7:30 a.m., Shanna Shaw was on her regular route as an MBTA driver. She’d been a bus driver since 1996.
While driving across an overpass, Shaw lost control of the vehicle, crashed into a guardrail, and almost sent the bus tumbling over the edge, onto a highway. Eight of her passengers were injured in the accident, and several accused her of texting on her phone just before the crash.
Not long after the accident, Boston.com reported that investigators caught Shaw lying about using her cellphone. Her version of events differed from her passengers’ accounts in that she said she suffered a sneezing fit, which led to the accident.
Shaw stuck to her story until investigators told her they had footage of her texting and driving, which they’d recovered from the bus’s onboard camera. That’s when they decided to charge her with obstruction of justice. She faces several other charges because of the incident.
Although she’s since pleaded not guilty to the charges against her, Shaw has already lost her driver’s license, and the MBTA fired her for texting and driving.
Most states have strict laws against cellphone use for bus drivers because they are responsible for so many passengers every single day. Massachusetts law prohibits bus drivers from using cell phones at any point during their workday. These rules went into effect after a trolley driver injured 60 passengers while texting and driving.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver in Boston, you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you file for the compensation you deserve. There is no excuse for knowingly endangering other drivers, and we are proud to stand up for victims of negligence.
WCVB News reports that the transportation authority is taking a new approach to the issue. Previously, drivers who had cellphones with them while operating a vehicle would face a 10-day suspension. Now, they will most likely be fired just for carrying a phone in their pocket or purse. The newest policy is one of the toughest in the country.