There is a network called Tru TV on cable, which basically gets most of its material from the world around us. Security cameras, random passersby with video capabilities on their phones, and cameras that are attached to police cars all contribute to the 24 hours per day of reality programming over on Tru TV.
The shows have titles like “World’s Wildest Police Chases” and “World’s Wildest Vacations.” In other words, it’s mostly real life footage of criminals getting chased down or bad things happening to people. We aren’t necessarily fans, mainly because we see enough bad things happen to people through the course of our work as personal injury lawyers in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. But in the event that the folks over at Tru TV experience a sudden drought of terrifying real-life video footage, we recommend that they head on over the headquarters of the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA for short, Metro for those of us who live in the Washington, D.C. area.) All they would have to do is take a look at the footage of the driver’s-view cameras that are mounted on every Metro Bus and they would have enough for at least half a season’s worth of television.
There is a pedestrian being hit by a Metro bus. There are dozens of near-misses. There is an SUV getting rear-ended. There are collisions in school zones with children nearby. There are red light violations. There are reckless right turns. There are stop signs that might as well have not been there at all. There are bicyclists almost getting hit. All told, there are 134 video clips of near misses, and dozens involving people or cars getting actually hit by busses.
You might be asking yourself if this is the accumulation of years of drivecam video footage, considering how many incidents there are. In fact, these are just the noteworthy clips from July to August of 2011. That’s two months with over 150 “incidents.”
We have talked about the various problems with the public transportation available in the D.C. area. Chiefly, we talk about Metro. There are all sorts of smaller public transportation systems available in Maryland and Virginia, but none of them even proportionately come close to having the appalling safety record that exists with the bus system in Metro. It isn’t exactly a secret that there are many bus accidents in D.C. WMATA apparently aren’t very good at getting them off the road and out of the system. For instance, here is a list of the offenses and “punishments” of a particularly bad Metro bus driver: (Bear in mind, the following list falls under “alleged,” but the sources at this website are usually quite reliable.)
- Hired as a bus driver and is involved in an accident
- Gets "fired"
- Gets reinstated as a bus driver
- Gets "fired" again for another accident
- Gets transferred to become a TRAIN OPERATOR! (Safety first)
- Accumulates enough infractions (wrong side doors, platform overshoots, running signals) to be disqualified from ever being a train operator again
- Becomes the face of Metro as a station manager and as such:
- Gets a 5-day suspension for disrespecting a Metro Police Officer
- Gets a 5-day suspension for using a cell phone while on duty
- Gets a 5-day suspension for regularly taking 2-3 hour lunch breaks
- Gets a 10-day suspension for locking someone in the station after closing (This was overturned because Metro lost, or couldn't find, the film from the video cameras at the station.)
- Gets a 12-day suspension for falling asleep on the job after his picture was posted on this blog. (He apparently successfully fought that punishment off after going to the doctor and afterward claiming he had sleep apnea. The other station manager pictured claimed the same thing and got off as well, the source said.)
- But none of that mattered because he took several months of disability leave after "spraining" his ankle.
Again, this is an alleged list. But if it is true, it is absolutely appalling.
Getting hit by a car is bad. Getting hit by a bus is infinitely worse. A city bus is an enormous, and it carries a lot more weight and momentum than even the largest of SUV’s. A bus that is only traveling at a few miles an hour is capable of doing enormous damage to a human being. We know that, so it goes without saying that WMATA officials know that as well. Why it is they continue to allow unsafe operators to arrive in the system is beyond us. We can only hope they get their act together before more people get hurt or worse.
Greenberg and Bederman is a car accident law firm. We offer legal counsel to those who have been injured by being hit by a car, truck or city bus. If you or a loved one in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. has been hurt by public transportation due to no fault of your own, contact Greenberg & Bederman for a free consultation today.