A New York City bus driver named Alexander Copeland was arrested Sunday for allegedly taking a drunken joyride down Long Island’s Northern State Parkway. Copeland was off-duty at the time and was not authorized to be driving the bus at all, much less driving it hammered.
Police stopped Copeland near exit 32, in Westbury, after several drivers made 911 calls about his erratic driving, CBS New York reports. A Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesperson told CBS that the bus was taken from somewhere near the MTA bus depot in Jamaica, Queens, where Copeland works, and which sits 15 miles west of the spot where he was stopped. Copeland blew a .20 blood-alcohol content reading before the arrest—more than twice the legal limit—according to the police.
The idea of a drunk person careening down the parkway in a mammoth city bus is scary enough without considering that Copeland is responsible for the lives of countless passengers and pedestrians in New York when he’s on duty. Ten people were killed in crashes involving city buses last year, according to the New York Times.
In June, the union representing bus drivers staged protests against a city law that holds drivers accountable for crashes involving pedestrians in crosswalks who have the right of way. The union agitated for an amendment to the law exempting city bus drivers from punishment in such crashes, arguing that following it strictly would cause delays. The New York State Senate passed a bill the same month that would protect bus drivers who kill pedestrians and cyclists from immediate arrest; fortunately, it died in the state assembly.
Getting people to work on time is not nearly as important as making sure they don’t die. Bus drivers, like everyone else on the road, are humans who are liable to commit the occasional (or frequent!) extremely bad decision, as Alexander Copeland’s case shows. They should be subject to the same safety laws as everyone else on the road, too.
Bus Driver Gets Drunk And Goes For A Joyride Driving City Bus On His Day Off – Gets Arrested