TORONTO - In many religions, vanity is considered a cardinal sin. But when you're holding a mirror and applying makeup while at the helm of a speeding streetcar full of passengers, it's just plain dangerous.
The Toronto Transit Commission is investigating video footage obtained by QMI Agency of a female operator applying various cosmetics while driving her streetcar at around 50 km/h.
The 22-second video shows her rummaging through a clear plastic bag on her lap before applying lipstick and then holding a large mirror while applying even more makeup.
According to the rider who recorded the driver's poorly timed display of vainglory, the streetcar was travelling westbound on St. Clair Ave at around 9 p.m. Wednesday.
"It was shocking," the rider said (he requested his name not be used). "I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. The streetcar was going fast, and putting on makeup can't be safe. I don't want to see her lose her job, but she needs to be told, 'This is dangerous.'"
After viewing the video, spokesman Brad Ross said the TTC would immediately look into it.
"We will investigate, starting with identifying the operator in the video," Ross said. "The safety of customers and fellow motorists is an operator's chief concern."
Of the 38,811 complaints made to the TTC in 2011, 311 were about operators engaging in various forms of distracted driving — eating, texting and listening to music, for example. So far this year, the TTC has received 75 complaints about distracted driving.
Back in January 2011, a bus driver was photographed texting while driving at around 50 km/h. Following that, QMI Agency was inundated with footage of other TTC operators engaged in various forms of distracted driving. The TTC, during a subsequent winter crackdown, ended up suspending 26 drivers and firing at least one.
— With files from Joe Warmington