Distracted driving has reached a whole new level. A recent story in Portland, Oregon, shows that we now have to worry about other people, "reading while driving."

According to the Associated Press, a bus driver was allegedly caught on video reading an e-Book while driving.  The video, which was filmed by one of the passengers with a cell phone, showed the bus driver looking down at what appeared to be a Kindle or other similar device. The driver had the e-Reader propped up near the steering wheel and kept glancing down as he drove the bus.   What was so frightening about this incident is that the bus driver was traveling along Interstate 5 in Oregon, putting everyone in the bus and in the vehicles around him, in danger.

Not surprisingly, the driver, 40-year-old Lahcen Qouchbane, was fired for violating the Portland-area transit agency’s policy.  While the policy probably didn’t specifically state, “don’t read your Kindle and drive,” it did fall under the category of “posing an immediate threat to public safety,” which is what Mr. Qouchbane was accused of.

Mr. Qouchbane’s lawyer, Jonah Paisner, told news reporters that his client wasn’t reading.  However, the video tells a completely different story.

Before this incident occurred, the transit agency had already received complaints about Mr. Qouchbane.  The Oregonian reported that he was terminated in 2006 for pushing a passenger, but was later reinstated.

What can we learn from this incident? Besides the fact that you should never read and drive, you also need to watch out for other drivers on the road. Who knows? The driver next to you could be in the middle of a really great novel while behind the wheel.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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