Aircoach have fired their driver who took both hands off of the wheel while driving 100km/h on a motorway, just so he could take out his iPad.
The now former employee, had been driving an empty Aircoach bus on the M50 two years ago when he decided to cease control of the vehicle in order to take his iPad. He subsequently took his hands off the wheel a further two or three times over the course of the trip, and kept the iPad up to his ear, so he could hear the audio playing from the tablet.
The driver attempted to claim for unfair dismissal through The Employment Appeals Tribunal(EAT), but his case was dismissed after CCTV footage of the day's event were shown. He claimed that the bus' radio was broken, wind was coming in from the door, and that he wanted something to keep him alert. In his EAT hearing he claimed that he "thought the company should have no issue as it was not a mobile phone he was using".
The former employee said that on the day in question he had worked a 12-hour shift, the motorway wasn't busy as it was 7.30pm, and that his vision wasn't impaired at any stage due to his checking of mirrors. Despite claiming that the act was a once off, in a meeting a few days after his suspension he “saw no serious breach of the safety policy in place and it was his view that it was acceptable to use an iPad when driving. He said he was fully in control of the vehicle he was driving. He showed no remorse”
The act in question was originally spotted by a passing motorist, who informed the company. Upon reviewing the CCTV footage, the coach company suspended the driver with full pay in July 2013. He has since attempted to find work within the driving industry, as well as retail, but so far his efforts have failed.
The EAT found Aircoach to have acted reasonably at all times and that substantial grounds existed to justify the dismissal, a ruling that Aircoach's Allen Parker welcomed. “Safety is our number one priority and our rules are there for the safety of our passengers, our drivers and for other road users.
“We have a very strict policy which absolutely forbids the use of any electronic mobile device while driving which was breached in this case and we are glad that the Tribunal upheld our initial decision.”
Via Irish Times