Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Was that bus driver really reading his Kindle? Len Edgerly as interviewee.

Here's the YouTube video of the probably dangerously-distracted bus driver in Portland, Oregon, Lahcen Qouchbane.  The image capture is of the moment when his left arm is at the most extended, which at first I thought not far enough to reach the Kindle.

  The Oregonian's Joseph Rose writes that Qouchbane has been placed on paid suspension while they try to determine whether or not he was actually reading the Kindle while driving his busload of passengers on I5 on a rainy morning.  In the earlier story , Rose opened his story with, "It may be the worst Amazon Kindle endorsement ever. "

 Rose describes the situation this way:
' Moving through the Terwilliger Curves, his eyes bounced from the road to the text on the Kindle’s screen. He pushed the pad’s buttons. At one point, he began steering the Line 96 bus from Bridgeport Village to Portland with his elbows. '
This blog entry title is in the form of a question because at first watching I thought the driver's arm didn't seem to reach far enough to touch the Kindle on the dashboard and I thought maybe he WAS pushing a button on his bus panel instead.

Then I noticed the flash that occurs with a page turn -- it's pretty glaring, so to speak!  But I could still be wrong, as the flash could be coincidental (but I don't think that's likely).

katu tv's lead image does seem to show him reading with what must be incredible eyesight, his elbow on the wheel, his hand under his jaw.  At the end they have a link to the unedited video of it, so article readers can puzzle it out for themselves.  The writer, Susan Harding, adds that "TriMet officials said he had his Oregon license suspended for traffic violations in his personal car but that didn’t have any impact on his commercial license."  On the other hand, Rose's story says, though, that the action was 'pending' -- "had an Oregon license suspension pending for traffic violations in his private vehicle, but resolved them without it affecting his commercial driver's license."

Nevertheless, they have to be sure, and the angle of shooting might make a hard-nosed conclusion less likely.  Or, maybe I'm the ideal person for defense teams in jury selection.

In the larger picture, the transit agency (largest in Oregon) declared war on driving while distracted by mobile electronic devices but it's apparently harder to stop than that.

The Motley Fool's Chris Hill interviews Len Edgerly
Fun to see Len Edgerly answering instead of querying :-).  At Chris Hill gets some interesting replies from Len, who uses his iPad daily.  A couple of excerpts:
' [About the Kindle 3] I think part of it is the screen makes it pleasurable to read in direct sunlight, just like the ads show, but you also have the feeling that you are not taking a computer to the beach.  I would never take the iPad in a similar situation because of the sand and all this, but now especially at these prices, $139 for the Wi-Fi, to throw this thing in a bag and go to the beach seems perfectly appropriate and it turns out to be a great experience.
. . .
I think the thing that surprised me the most was how heavy the iPad was, because I thought that it was going to be much more comparable to sit in my favorite leather chair with a Kindle, at that time the Kindle 2, or the iPad, but after about a half an hour of reading a book, the iPad just seemed to get heavier and heavier and less and less pleasing to hold.

The screen glare I thought was going to be a bigger issue than it turns out, and they were smart to give you the ability to adjust the brightness without having to go back to the preferences on the iPad.  It is pleasant enough to read on the iPad, but the weight of it I think is the big thing.  I had quite a period of reading books on the iPad just because I really wanted to give it a good try and in the past month or two, I just haven't read anything on the iPad. '

The interview also covers his thoughts on the usefulness of Amazon Kindle subscriptions and other subscriptions on the iPad, the coming Google book store and a rumored tablet from Google. Read that at The Motley Fool (investments site).

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

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  1. Living in Manhattan, I take the bus often.

    3/5 times the bus driver is reading a newspaper while they drive.

    What's the difference?

  2. Taso,
    That shouldn't be either since defensive driving (for others' mistakes) is important when you're responsible for all the passengers on your bus.

    However, one difference is that at Manhattan speeds, an accident won't have nearly the horrific results that one at highway speed (I5) could have.


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