Bus drivers can log tens of thousands of miles behind the wheel in the course of a career. They receive training on safe bus operating procedures and are typically required to follow strict work/rest requirements. Still, no matter how many hours are logged or how much training is conducted, accidents are inevitable.
It was reported that one man was killed and another seriously injured when the pair were struck by a city bus on the evening of February 4th, 2013. An 81 year old man was fatally injured while a 50 year old sustained serious injuries. According to the bus driver, it was the end of his shift and he was taking the bus back to the depot when he struck the two men as they stood in or near a crosswalk – no passengers were on board. A toxicology test was conducted to determine if drugs or alcohol were in the driver’s system, but those results remain unreleased. It should be noted, however, that a toxicology test is routine in many jurisdictions following a serious or fatal bus accident.
This accident marks the third time in three days that a bus has crashed or been involved in a catastrophic accident. The first occurred on February 2nd, in Boston, where a bus carrying teens and adult chaperons returning from a college visit crashed into an overpass on a road which the bus was too big to drive on. The second occurred on February 3, when a tour bus with faulty brakes returning from a ski trip in Big Bear slammed into the back of a sedan, causing the bus to flip before crashing into a pickup truck.
Pedestrians Have the Right of Way
In almost every U.S. jurisdictions, pedestrians, not cars, have the right of way. This legal right of way protection, however, does not guarantee that drivers will see pedestrians in the road, which is why anyone crossing or standing near an open road or highway must maintain situational awareness at all times. This means that pedestrians shouldn’t just focus on “walk/don’t walk” signals, they still need to look both ways before crossing the street and make eye contact with drivers approaching a crosswalk.
There are several reasons why a vehicle driver would fail to see a pedestrian. Drivers routinely do things like drive distracted, fail to look both ways before merging into traffic, and accelerate through yellow lights. Instead of racing through crosswalks, pedestrians should wait to cross a street until they are absolutely sure that all drivers approaching the crosswalk see them and are prepared to stop. Just because a signal displays that it is safe to walk, it does not guarantee that drivers in the area won’t act negligently or recklessly.
Bus Accidents in Los Angeles
With all the public awareness and advice out there regarding pedestrian safety, the need to advocate on behalf of walking commuters strongly exists. It doesn’t take long to go out to any given intersection in downtown L.A. to see a bus speed through an intersection when it should be slowing down. Pedestrians have a responsibility to stay aware, but bus drivers owe an even greater duty of care to the public. Los Angeles bus accident lawyers aid injured people by having experts reconstruct the scene of the accident to prove that the bus was at fault.
The city is a hectic place, but it can be made safer by shining a spotlight on pedestrian safety and holding negligent entities responsible for their actions.