Driving While Reading – Bus Driver Caught With Kindle on Dashboard

Lahcen Qouchbane, a 40-year-old TriMet bus driver, was caught on video reading a Kindle while driving a bus full of passengers during rush hour along a part of I-5 in Portland, Oregon.

In the video that was captured via a man’s cell phone, you can clearly see Qouchbane reading his Kindle and turning the page while driving with his elbow—actions that could have led to an accident and injuries to passengers and other drivers as Qouchbane travelled through Terwilliger Curves—a stretch of Interstate 5 that is known for its accidents and traffic jams. However, Jonah Paisner, an attorney representing Qouchbane, is claiming that his client was not reading the Kindle that was in front of him sitting on the dashboard. I’m guessing Paisner hasn’t watched the video.

And according to various reports, Qouchbane (who likely would’ve avoided administrative leave if this video didn’t exist) told the man who was recording him that he was not allowed to take his picture. Well, of course Qouchbane said that! It’s like law enforcement telling everybody on the face of the earth that we can not record them, but they can record us and do whatever the hell else they would like to do to us. Are we not used to this kind of behavior yet from public workers? Is this not the norm nowadays?

As far as Qouchbane’s claims that taking pictures is not allowed on moving buses: Well, TriMet’s Rules Governing Conduct on District Property don’t even mention photography. And according to Bekki Witt, a TriMet public information officer whose correspondence with a rail fan was posted on RailroadForums.com in March 2009, wrote that photography is allowed in public places and on trains. So does that mean we can take pictures on moving buses too, and then submit them to TriMet’s flickr page? A request was submitted to TriMet to clarify their photography policy.

This video is the perfect example showing us why the use of cameras by members of the public should always be allowed on all public transportation, including when the doors are shut and the vehicle or train is moving. Policies that prohibit using cameras while the vehicle is moving are solely there to protect their employees, drivers and operators from getting caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Such as, reading a Kindle.

On the other hand, let’s hope that this isn’t some kind of bizarre viral campaign for Amazon’s Kindle. I sure don’t want to be duped into covering a fabricated story like Time magazine was regarding their recent post on a tornado that touched down in NYC—but in 1976.

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