The M.T.A. has gone public with its plan to rid New York City streets of its most dangerous bus operators and the bus accident lawyers are offering you the reasons why.
New York City buses were involved in 3,375 accidents between January and July of this year, an increase of about 10 percent compared with the same time period in 2012. Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials reportedly attribute the spike, at least in part, to an increase in the number of younger, less-experienced drivers.
Whatever the cause, the MTA is taking action to hopefully make buses safer. In response to the bus-accident increase, the MTA is cracking down on its bus drivers who are caught engaging in illegal and unsafe driving practices, in an effort to curtail accidents and send the message that carelessness will not be tolerated on the job. How is the M.T.A. policing its own?
About five weeks ago, the MTA stepped up its surveillance of bus drivers, sending MTA dispatchers to pose as passengers on buses and catch drivers who break the law. Since instituting the extra surveillance, 371 bus drivers have been cited with nearly 420 violations, according to MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.
The MTA reports that a majority of the drivers cited failed to signal before turning. Nearly 60 were caught on cellphones or running lights; these drivers were immediately ordered to pull over and turn in their keys, according to the MTA.
“This is definitely enhanced enforcement,” Ortiz said. “Personnel are out there and they are issuing violations to bus operators who are not operating their buses in a safe and defensive manner as they should be.”
But union officials call some of the regulations unreasonable. For example, J.P. Patafio, a vice president with Transport Workers Union Local 100, said that one MTA regulation requires bus drivers to place a foot over the brake every single time they go through an intersection. Another MTA regulation requires drivers to keep both hands on the wheel at all times unless completely stopped at a traffic light or bus stop, Mr. Patafio said.
News reports describe a scenario in which one M15 driver, Tony Romaine, was taken out of service for taking one hand off the wheel to wave at another driver.
An MTA official responded with incredulity, but was not immediately able to check the veracity of the story. The MTA, it seems, remains hopeful that the crackdown will continue and will result in decreased accidents and increased bus safety.
Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP shares the hope that bus drivers will operate their buses in a careful manner so our streets become safer for other motorists, bus passengers and pedestrians. The Bus Accident Lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy remain committed to helping the unfortunate victims and families of bus accidents in very difficult times. The bus accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have a proven track record for standing up to the large municipalities and insurance companies that are associated with buses, including more than $700,000,000 in verdicts and settlements. For instance, they recently won a $6,000,000 settlement and a $2,056,656 verdict for bus accident victims. The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are available for a free consultation at (212) 736-5300. You can also learn more about the firm by visiting the firm’s website at blockotoole.com.