COMMACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A brazen case of distracted driving was caught on camera – a bus driver texting his way to and from the Hamptons.
There were nearly four dozen people on that bus to Southampton, many of them worried for their safety, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.
One day after the fatal limousine crash in Cutchogue that claimed the lives of four young Long Island women from Smithtown, Amanda Michelle and her friends were among 45 passengers who hired a bus from Commack's M & V Limousines to take them safely to and from the Hamptons.
Passengers Catch Limo Bus Driver Texting While Driving During Trip To Hamptons
What they recorded was disturbing.
"(I am) absolutely appalled. I can speak for all the other people on the bus as well – we were shocked. We were very upset, because we found out that day that four girls from our close family friends had passed away from a limo accident just the day before that, so we were more than upset."
McLogan: "So you contacted the limo company. You say at first they did nothing?"
"They did nothing. They told me they would speak to the manager and they were going to get back to me. They did not. It was a week," Amanda said.
So she posted the startling video on social media and spoke to CBS2's newsroom.
During CBS2's follow up on Monday, company president Mark Vigliante assured McLogan action is being taken.
"As soon as I was made aware of it I contacted the driver and he has been terminated immediately. We have zero tolerance for anything like that. We have been in business 23 years and we have an excellent safety record," Vigliante said.
Amanda and other witnesses told McLogan a whole week went by until their complaints were taken seriously, something the limo company denies. The driver told his boss he only once briefly checked for messages.
"He was texting the whole way there, and the way home, too," Amanda said.
McLogan: "So when he told his boss he just quickly checked for a second, that is not what you saw?"
Amanda: "No, I have full footage of him texting for more than 20 seconds."
According to the company's website, M & V drives passengers to wineries and warned its drivers of the North Fork tragedy.
"We scheduled a safety meeting right away after that so we are very proactive here," Vigliante said. "We are very proactive here."
When asked why she and her friends didn't demand the driver put down his phone, Amanda said, "I didn't know how the driver would react. I just didn't want to make a confrontational scene about it."
The limo company would not divulge the name of the its now terminated driver, except to say he is 45 years old and also drives a school bus. It was not immediately clear if any further action will be taken against him, McLogan reported.
The limo company said it plans to install cameras in its tour buses, as a result of the texting video.
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