Nashville Uber Driver James Henneberg often posts “live” video streams to his social media.. and while this is a grey area of the law if the phone is in a cradle and being operated hands-free – once the phone is in your hand and you are using functions on the screen and reading the screen and interacting with viewers, it is almost always as situation that law enforcement would consider “distracted driving”.. in fact, very recently some agencies, such as the THP have started to use the distracted driving law over the “no texting” law, because it requires no other proof other than your focus was off the roadway for any moment that you were operating a vehicle.
Mr. Henneberg has many videos on his Facebook Account (all public at time of publication) this particular video, was recorded on 12/17/2016, at 11:08 PM, on I-24E toward Nashville. In this video, our opinion is that driving was certainly distracted, but you can view for yourself. Are these the types of drivers you want picking you up when you request an Uber around town? I much prefer a driver that has both hands on the wheel, and is always focused on safety.
In the video below, James Henneberg is ever heard acknowledging that his actions are not safe, yet continuing to broadcast live while apparently distracted from driving. He even uses a radar app on his phone, and rages at another driver, all while going at interstate speeds and broadcasting live on Facebook.
Here are some of the highlights of the video that show what we would consider distracted driving:
00:05 Confirms in Nashville driving for Uber, phone properly hands-free in cradle.
03:25 “I want to do the camera on it (the storm) but I am driving & don’t want to be unsafe like that”
03:50 Takes camera off hands-free mount anyways, begins to hold in hand.
By the 5:00 minute mark, he is fully holding the camera in one hand, and driving with the other, and talks about how bad the wind is and how the road is hard to manage, as he is doing between 60-70mph on the visible gauges.
He continues to confirm he is reading the phone screen while driving in dangers conditions at high speeds, by reading things in the chat on the screen, such as notices that people are now viewing his live feed, and responds to them in real-time
Just before the 6 minute mark he notes how hard it is now raining, and turns on the wipers, while still driving 60mph, holding the phone in one hand, viewing comments on the screen while also watching the road.
09:00 He comments on how bad the rain is, while holding a very shaky camera in one hand while driving, and also notes that while driving, and live-streaming video, he is also viewing a live-radar app on his phone to view the storm
11:00 He finally admits on camera “I really don’t want to push my luck doing this too long”.. and states that his windows are fogging up, also limiting his visibility, all while still driving on the interstate, and holding the camera that is live-streaming video in his hand, as he pans to the other windows.
12:03 a horn honk is heard, presumably from his vehicle as he states something that is mostly inaudible but directed at another vehicle, as he says “there’s a sign back there that says to not do that”
12:14 …”but it’s a chick driver… stupid people”
After 12.5 minutes, he finally ends the broadcast.
Safe Driver? Unsafe Driver? Only you can decide if he was distracted. Luckily it was captured on video, so it’s a decision that should be easy to make. I can safely say if he was my Uber driver I would certainly request a new one.