A US senator has been caught driving during a live-streamed Zoom meeting on the same day the House of Representatives introduced a distracted driving bill.
Ohio Senator Andrew Brenner first appeared in the meeting sitting in a parked car, but after a few minutes, he moved his phone, left the meeting, then reappeared with a changed background to make it appear he was in a home office.
The background, which showed brown cabinets, a house plant and picture frames, was a little fuzzy around Brenner’s outline and appeared to turn into passing scenery if he moved his head too much.
But the dead giveaway was the seatbelt he had strapped across his chest, plus the fact that he seemed to be checking his mirrors for a lane change in his home office.
Brenner told The Columbus Dispatch that he wasn’t distracted.
“I was paying attention to the driving and listening to it [the meeting]” he said.
“I had two meetings that were back to back that were in separate locations. And I’ve actually been on other calls – numerous calls – while driving. Phone calls for the most part, but on video calls, I’m not paying attention to the video.
“To me, it’s like a phone call.”
Brenner added that his car was parked for most of the meeting, which was a video meeting of the Ohio Controlling Board.
That being said, The New York Times noted that the senator’s car meeting coincided with the introduction of a distracted driving bill in the house of reps that seeks to expand a ban on texting while driving to include live streaming, photo taking and the use of mobile apps while driving.