Friday, May 22, 2015

Transit agencies find it easier to blame the bus driver than fix the problem

Sandi Day was the victim of poor engineering
Operators involved in fatal incidents are greatly impacted, routinely seeking professional help to cope with the experience. Many are so devastated that they never get behind the wheel again.

We have enough experience with this issue, however, to know that simply “throwing the book” at drivers, regardless of their culpability, will do nothing to correct the problems that lead to accidents in the first place.

There has been a startling change in the engineering of our buses in the last 50 years. The National Academy of Sciences identified the problem in 2008, describing the large blind spots built into buses today that weren’t there years ago:
“A-pillars” — the vertical column between the driver’s-side windshield and window — and the pillars’ adjoining side-view mirror often create a foot-long obstacle in drivers’ field of vision that prevents them from seeing pedestrians on their left.
Tall fare boxes and other obstacles block drivers from seeing pedestrians on their right.

 Manufacturers of buses built before 1970 provided drivers with a wide field of vision that they don’t today.

In addition to coping with bus-design flaws, drivers have to meet insane computerized timetables or face discipline, regardless of the difficulties they encounter on the road. These punishing schedules leave little or no time for recuperation or bathroom breaks between runs

Today, overworked and distracted drivers are pushed to meet impossible schedules on vehicles that create significant blind spots in their field of vision. It is a testament to drivers’ professionalism and concern for the public that so few accidents occur.

We must retrofit the mirrors or retire current buses that create blind spots in drivers’ vision.

 Ask bus drivers to twist their bodies like a pretzel while driving to see around the blind spots, in order to make sure there’s no pedestrian in the crosswalk.
Talk about dangerous.

Transit agencies  should also look into employing modern technology that can signal drivers when they are close to an obstacle.
 Before slamming bus drivers, de Blasio needs to make buses safer | New York Post

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