Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A screen grab shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reading while driving along the Gardiner Expressway.

Toronto police are pleading with Rob Ford to hire a driver after the mayor got in trouble behind the wheel again, this time for apparently reading while driving on the Gardiner Expressway.

While Mr. Ford shrugged off the Tuesday morning incident as unavoidable for a "busy" chief magistrate, Toronto police used it as an excuse to join a chorus of friends and foes urging the mayor to employ an official driver.

"On behalf of all the citizens of Toronto that value road safety, Mr. Mayor ... please get a driver. It is obvious that you are busy enough to require one and no amount of money you are saving by not having one is worth the life of one of your citizens," Sgt. Tim Burrows wrote on Toronto police's official Facebook page.

Story continues below advertisement

The last sentence of Sgt. Burrows's post was later removed.

This latest bump in the road for Toronto's mayor began when a Twitter user by the handle of @ryanghaughton tweeted a picture of Mr. Ford holding up a sheaf of papers while in the driver's seat of his Cadillac Escalade.

"The picture was taken around 10 am while on the Gardiner and traffic was moving at about 70 km heading eastbound just by Jameson," the user tweeted before deleting the picture and shutting down his Twitter account.

The mayor couldn't see what all the fuss was about when asked about the picture at a news conference officially announcing a trade mission to Chicago.

Was that him behind the wheel? "Yeah, probably. I'm busy," he said. "Trying to catch up on my work. You know, keep my eyes on the road, but I'm a busy man."

Asked whether he saw a problem with reading while driving on the Gardiner, the mayor replied: "Well, I'm busy. I don't know what that has to do with our trade mission, but anyways ..." he said, before an aide announced Mr. Ford would take only one more question.

"Ridiculous questions, sometimes, seriously," the mayor added as an aside.

Story continues below advertisement

Reading while driving is not against the law, according to Toronto police.

But it could be a factor in laying a charge of careless driving if it contributes to illegal behaviour such as an unsafe lane change or a collision, said Constable Clint Stibbe of the Toronto police traffic services division.

"On its own, holding a paper in your hand is not [cause for] a charge. Just like you holding a coffee in your hand. You can't be charged for that," he said.

This is not the first time Mr. Ford has been criticized for his behaviour on the road.

In July, he and a TTC driver exchanged words after the operator left his seat to scold Mr. Ford for allegedly driving past the open doors of the Dundas streetcar.

Mr. Ford, who complained about the driver's behaviour to TTC boss Andy Byford, later told reporters that he drove past the closed back doors, but stopped behind the open front doors.

Story continues below advertisement

"The driver came out and accosted me," he said.

Ontario's Highway Traffic Act says vehicles must stop two metres behind any open door on a streetcar.

In July, 2011, the mayor admitted to talking on his hand-held cell phone while driving, but denied a Toronto woman's claim that he gave her six-year-old daughter the finger when the pair chided him for breaking the law.

The mayor's press secretary at the time said Mr. Ford, who is famous for returning calls to constituents day and night, was making an effort to use his hands-free OnStar device more often.

As one of Toronto's most recognizable figures, Mr. Ford has had trouble escaping publicity for his behaviour behind the wheel.

His recognizable ride probably hasn't helped.

Story continues below advertisement

Before his brothers bought him a new Cadillac Escalade this summer – which is actually registered to the Ford family printing company – he drove an old brown Chevrolet Uplander van with vanity plates, first displaying his own name, then the name of the school where he serves as a volunteer football coach.

The mayor's new vehicle does not have a vanity plate.

Previous mayors, including David Miller, employed drivers at taxpayers' expense, but the frugal Mr. Ford has refused to follow suit.

Even his own brother hasn't succeeded in convincing the mayor to stop driving himself everywhere.

"Absolutely. One hundred per cent," the mayor needs a driver, the councillor reiterated on Tuesday.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies