back to article Italian bus driver goes completely hands-free

A Roman bus driver has demonstrated just why Italians are globally celebrated for their automotive skills by steering his vehicle with his elbows while manipulating a brace of mobile phones. Footage of Roberto Noto's "acrobatic" skills was captured by a passenger en route to Rome's Ciampino airport on Wednesday. The concerned …


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  1. ratfox

    He is a plant of the Vatican

    It is a well-known trick to get a busload of people to pray fervently

  2. Still Water


    ...was waiting for the predicted earthquake to hit and sending a few last SMS while he had chance...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Brussels...

    In Brussels, I took a tram and the driver appeared to have a small child sat on his knees, "driving". I think a phone may have been involved too, but perhaps I'm conflating two incidents there.

    And in Iceland, I took a coach and the driver answered his phone while going up a steep hill and was unable to change gear as a result, which made the drive rather erratic; the call was actually from the bus company and there was even a "conductor" on board who could have answered it.

    Sadly Iceland's not in this list, but it does have Italy and Belgium:

    Road death rate per 100,000 population (per annum presumably), 1999

    Portugal 21.0

    Greece 20.2

    Spain 14.6

    France 14.4

    Belgium 13.7

    Lux. 13.5

    Austria 13.4

    Italy 11.0 (1998)

    Ireland 11.0

    Denmark 9.7

    Germany 9.5

    Finland 8.4

    Netherl. 6.9

    Sweden 6.6

    UK 6.0

    1. thenim

      oh crap..

      I'm off the Portugal in the summer and was thinking of driving...

      1. Nigel 11


        Strange, I was in Spain recently and the driving didn't seem any worse than the UK.

        1. Displacement Activity

          Re: Spain

          I've been in (Southern) Spain regularly over the last 25 years. The standard of driving was incredibly bad then; the roads were full of morons, not to mention the fact that the roads themselves were generally badly built and unsafe. Things have got better, but it's still nothing like driving in the UK.

          Anyone else notice the inverse correlation between countries with high road death rates, and countries with good F1 drivers, in the list above?

        2. Dave 15 Silver badge


          The original post suggested Spains roads were full of morons... I think the correlation with the UK is pretty exact. The number of ignorant and obnoxious morons that seem to have driving licences - or at least cars - in the UK is impossible to believe.

          Many times now I've been overtaken when doing 30mph in a 30mph limit - quite often in town centres, next to play areas or outside school gates - and almost always in the morning rush

          I've also found myself being tailgated on dual carriageways when the outside lane is empty (my lane discipline is good having driven in Germany for a few years).

          Was carved up the other day because the guy decided I wasn't going fast enough in the inside lane - despite there being no other traffic in view on either carriageway (was early in the morning) - I guess I had disturbed his karma by making him change lane

          Very often I potter along to later overtake the rude **** who stuck fingers up at me when they are sat in the same traffic jam I know is always further along the road

          Then of course there is the 'I am happy in the middle / outside lane and see no reason to move back to the empty inside lane to let people pass me' brigade - and most people on here would probably agree about what they are (contrary to the evidence above I sometimes do hurry and frequently find myself stuck behind these idiots, at that point I really do wish for a much larger car to allow me to run them into the nearest ditch).

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      It doesn't surpise me that Greece is high on that list

      Given that on the Greek motorways, truck drivers regulalrly use the hard shoulder to allow other drivers to pass, by pulling in and out (oo-er) of it. Also, a large proportion of the Greek roads are narrow windy mountain roads, which naturally tend to have a higher fatality rate when driven off of.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE:In Brussels...

      1999??? A bit outdated?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your tale and your numbers are both rather irrelevant.

      Death rates from 1999 haven't quite caught up on widespread uptake of mobile phones; back then most people had none, nevermind two.

      And a tram? Doesn't need steering and gear changing quite as much as does a bus.

      I'd also add that while small children aren't something to take with you to work casually (unless you work in childcare), the presumptions behind showing a toddler the ropes of "steering" a tram is much more focused on the here and now and continued existence than fooling around with a smartphone toy while on a second phone. It still isn't the wisest thing to do, mind, but your attention is focused very differently.

    5. AdamWill

      Probably didn't really need driving

      Wouldn't surprise if the tram barely needed driving at all. It's been perfectly feasible to run rail transit with no driver for decades; newly built systems mostly still have drivers because of a) passenger fears and b) unions. Where I live (Vancouver) the entire light rail system is fully automated, there's no driver or even cab in any of the trains, and it's been that way since the system was built in the mid-80s. Admittedly it's a bit more complex where it's not a closed system - if there are multiple independent lines, or level crossings, or especially a tram system running on streets with cars driven by unpredictable humans with buggy wetware - but I think the automated systems are pretty damn good even at those situations now.

  4. david 63

    Could be worse...

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Awesome - thanks

      That firmly beats the Italian into second place.. Hahaha!

  5. peyton?

    Not smart

    Everyone knows you steer with your knees when your hands are full.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's an affliction

    For whatever reason the use of cellphones, texting and other electronic toys are an affliction for many people. Anywhere you go you see people obsessed with these toys as if they have no life.

  7. Spiracle

    Doesn't surprise me

    My abiding memory of using buses in Verona was that the drivers never actually stopped, they'd just slow down to slightly less than walking pace while everybody jumped on and off. This was mostly because of the Italian habit of double parking in every bus stop thereby ensuring that the bus couldn't stop without blocking the traffic. Strangely enough this turned out to be a very efficient way of running urban buses in traffic.

    Once they got going though drivers tended to drive the bus, like every vehicle in Italy, like it was a Ferrari, meaning that if you weren't holding on with a very good grip you stood a good chance of ending up flat on the floor. It got worse when they got buses with energy storing inertial brakes: that just meant that the harder they stood on the brakes on the faster they could pull away afterwards.

    1. Daniel Evans


      Couldn't imagine many of the UK's bus users (older people, mothers with pram and 4 screaming children) being able to get on moving buses.

      But perhaps the Italians don't let old age or children get in the way of catching the bus?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor chap

    thought he was in one of those new Google Cars that drive themselves

  9. Christoph

    Time for another old joke

    "If you had both hands busy, what were you steering with?"

    "Only *real* men drive buses in Rome!"

  10. nick dring

    in genova

    I see bus drivers talking on their phones all the time, as I do people driving cars.

    You can always tell because they go slower, or should I say, stop breaking the speed limit. Everyone behind them, me included (7 years have taken their toll) thinks its an old person until they pull alongside and see the phone attached to their ear. They will also drive without hands as Italians are unable to talk without gesticulating.

  11. James Foreman

    Missing the most important detail...


    Honestly, if we don't know that, how are people going to be able to make jibes about Steve Jobs/fragmenting iPhones/Windows Mobile/Nokia/etc etc blah de blah blah. Won't somebody think of the kids?

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