Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to reading while driving on the Gardiner Expressway after a photo of him went viral on Twitter.
Ford was answering questions Tuesday morning while at a news conference about a business mission he’s leading in Chicago.
When a reporter asked him about the Twitter picture posted by @RyanGHaughton which showed Ford reading while driving near Jameson Avenue around 10 a.m., he admitted to doing so. The photo and Twitter account has since been taken down.
“Yeah, probably,” he said. “I’m busy. I’m trying to catch up on my work and keep my eyes on the road. But I’m a busy man.
“I don’t know what that has to do with the trade mission, but anyways. Ridiculous questions sometimes, seriously.”
Haughton, who declined to speak with CityNews, said in subsequent posts that traffic was moving at about 70 km/h when the photo was taken, apparently from the perspective of the passenger seat.
According to Toronto police, reading while driving is not a chargeable offence. Though it’s considered “distracted driving” in theory, the actual law only applies to hand-held devices.
Careless driving charges would only come into play if Ford had committed some other offence at the same time, like speeding or an unsafe lane change, or if he had caused a crash, Const. Clint Stibbe said.
In June, Ford got into a spat with a TTC operator who claimed the mayor drove past the open doors of a streetcar on Dundas Street West, near McCaul. Ford said he passed the closed rear doors, but followed the law and stopped behind the front ones, which were still open.
And last year, two people said they saw Ford using his cellphone while he was driving downtown on separate occasions.
Ford’s press secretary at the time would only confirm one of the allegations, but added he had been diligent about using the hands-free system in his car.
In the wake of the latest incident, Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor’s older brother, suggested it was “absolutely” time for the younger Ford to get a personal driver. The police force also urged the mayor to do that its Facebook page.
“On behalf of all the citizens of Toronto that value road safety, Mr Mayor… please get a driver.”
The mayor’s office couldn’t be immediately be reached for comment.
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