Public transportation is a valuable resource to not only those who use its services, but to the cities that provide the service and the environment. A bus not only reduces the number of cars on the road, but it provides those without motor vehicles a reliable and affordable method of moving around a city. Riding a bus or other form of public transportation is not without its risk, however, as individuals give up control and put it in the hands of whomever is operating the vehicle.
A Massachusetts bus driver may be facing jail time after lying to investigators about the details of a bus accident, which left her and eight passengers injured. The woman behind the wheel of the bus initially blamed a sneezing attack as the cause of the bus accident, telling police that she didn't have her phone with her at the time of the crash. After her phone rang in her purse and police informed the driver of video footage showing her holding her phone while driving, the woman confessed to having it in her possession at the time of the crash. A witness stated that he did not see the driver being distracted and although no text messages were found in her phone around the time of the crash, police are seeking a search warrant for her phone records. The woman has been charged with obstruction of justice and cited for speeding, impeded operation and operating to endanger.
Although MBTA has a zero tolerance for the use of cell phones during the operation of their vehicles, MBTA could still find itself liable for the actions of its employee. Civil cases such as these can be brought against employers for not only the negligent actions of its employee, but also for the company's decision to hire the employee. In this case, the bus driver had three at-fault accidents in the last decade, on top of numerous citations for traffic violations such as speeding.
Part of providing services to the public at large is being held to a higher standard of care than is expected in one's personal life. For those who rely on public transportation for their day to day travels, having confidence in the safety of the system is a necessity.
Source: The Boston Globe, "Driver in MBTA Bus Crash Allegedly Lied to Police," Doug Saffir, May 20, 2014