While MARTA drivers in Atlanta appear to be petitioning God with prayer (here), drivers in New York appear to be texting friends with gossip. The difference is that the MARTA driver stopped the bus. NYC Transit driver Jeremy Philhower is the subject of an investigation after running over and killing Seth Kahn, 22, as he crossed the street. Many are outraged that Philhower was previously suspended for texting while driving but was allowed back behind a wheel.
Philhower, 39, of Staten Island, was suspended only a few weeks before the accident and the agency was moving toward his termination when he was put back in the driver’s seat. He had been found texting while driving — sending disparaging comments about passengers to Facebook. However, the arbitrator found that he should simply take driver safety and customer service classes.
It was his first day back when he hit and killed Kahn, though there is no indication that he had been texting. Indeed, one of the first things that police checked was his phone, which had not been used.
This could turn into a negligence case for the city after returning him to duty as opposed to a desk job pending resolution of his requested termination. It would make for an interesting case since the city is required to comply with the result of arbitration, I presume.
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