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Friday’s Headlines: New York’s Least-Responsible Driver Edition

A knucklehead driver thinks he's not distracted by a literal television next to his steering wheel. Plus other news.

12:03 AM EDT on October 6, 2023

Photo: Steve Flack|

Here he is, people, a driver double-tasking behind the wheel.

Is this New York City's least responsible driver? Probably not, but he's certainly in the running.

The same day a box truck driver struck and killed a 56-year-old cyclist on Clarkson Avenue in Flatbush, Streetsblog reader Steve Flack posted video of a man driving down Vanderbilt Avenue elsewhere in Central Brooklyn in a drop-top convertible with a TV running cable news next to his steering wheel.

The motorist insisted that he wasn't watching the small screen — "I'm not watching it... That's where I get my news."

This week's headlines are sponsored by the LIC Summit on Oct. 17. Click graphic for info and tickets.

"I'm not watching TV!" the man insists in the clip, which Flack posted on Wednesday. "It's on, but I'm not watching."

The driving jerk's insistence that he isn't doing anything unsafe is absurd on its face: Smartphone-related distractions are a factor in many car crashes, while past studies of Apple's "CarPlay" dashboard screens have found the tech reduced driver reactivity by 57 percent.

This particular man — who can afford a convertible in New York City but refuses to get himself a Sirius-XM subscription — has a driving record that suggests he ought to pay a little more attention to the rules of the road. His license plate received a bus lane camera ticket in 2022 and a speed camera violation in 2023 — along with several other tickets in recent years for illegal parking including in front of fire hydrants and in the way of traffic, according to city records.

In other news:

  • No one covered the death of cyclist Emanuel Patterson in Flatbush for some reason. No one except us, that is.
  • MTA urging straphangers to be nice to one another. (NPR)
  • Bad news for local news: New York Public Radio laid off 20 staffers or roughly 6 percent of the staff. (Gothamist)
  • Delivery apps continue their legal war on the city's minimum wage rule — keeping money out of workers' pockets. (The City)
  • Manhattan CB 4 says no to Sully Sullenberger street re-naming. (NY Post)
  • MTA leaders neglected to price out maintenance in their 20-year needs assessment. The pie-in-the-sky expansion projects they did price out are grabbing headlines. (NBC New York)
  • Deputy State Comptroller Rahul Jain talks MTA finances with Pat Kiernan. (NY1)
  • COVID era crew shortages persist on subways. (The City)
  • The tl;dr: The MTA's future finances continue to depend on future ridership. (Daily News)
  • Hello, symbolism: The MTA accidentally dropped a bus on Fordham Road. (News 12)
  • Sunset Park subway shooter receives 10 life sentences. (Gothamist)

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