Following a tragic accident in which a distracted New Jersey jitney driver hit and killed a little girl in July, authorities have been cracking down on bus drivers found to be texting behind the wheel. But an "investigation" by NBC, which apparently enjoys a sufficiently bloated profit margin that it can send reporters out to ride the bus for two days, found that many drivers are still going strong with their cell phones.
Of 21 drivers observed, 10 were found to be distracted, typically either with counting money or flipping through their phones. One driver, more occupied by Facebook than the road ahead of him, reportedly looked down for several seconds at a stretch before peeling his eyes away from the screen. "Are you afraid that what you're doing is going to cause an accident?" the reporter asked. The driver waved his hands and didn't answer.
Unaffiliated with Jersey's transit system, the jitneys are private endeavors in which drivers rent their vans first and try to make money after. Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski attributes this apparent lack of interest behind the wheel the simple to lack of motivation to care.
"There's no accountability," he told the station. "The person driving it, in many instances, has no skin in the game. They don't own the vehicle. They're not on the insurance policy."
The ubiquitous minibuses of Jersey have been widely criticized after one distracted driver, Idowu Daromola, plunged straight off the road and into the stroller of an 8-month-old girl, killing her. The 48-year-old driver was arrested and charged with reckless driving, death by auto, and operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone.