Bus drivers in Broward County aren’t getting the training, or punishment needed to correct poor driving. And that’s a management plan that’s putting you at risk.
According to the Sun Sentinel, a newly-released audit shows that the number of preventable traffic accidents among public buses increase by close to 90 percent over the last four years. Some of the drivers involved in these accidents should have been reprimanded or fired, but they just weren’t. Even though transit officials say that re-training can help to prevent these kinds of accidents, officials aren’t doing much of that either because they say it’s just too costly.
Our Pompano Beach personal injury lawyers understand that the state started charging to check driver’s license suspension records. Ever since then, county officials stopped checking the licenses of their local bus drivers — leaving drivers with suspended commercial driver’s license to operate freely. In comparison to other large transit operations in the state of Florida, Broward’s rate of accidents is just about in the middle. The system in Miami-Dade ranks must worse than ours, but does that mean we can slack in safety?
There have been a number of cases involves county bus drivers with long accident histories and it has pushed the issue into the spotlight. An investigation kicked off last October found that a local driver had been involved in more than 20 accidents — officials deemed 12 of them preventable. By the book, he was supposed to be fired back in 2007. But he was still allowed to operate, with innocent passengers in his care.
There are three ways to help to reduce the risks of accidents, according to County Auditor Evan Lukic. He says officials need to keep tabs of who is getting into accidents, make sure they’re disciplined after these accidents and make sure they’re properly trained so that it doesn’t happen again.
Broward County isn’t doing any of the three. It’s just letting dangerous bus drivers wander the roadways, putting the public at risk, paid for by tax dollars.
“How much longer does the public have to wait?” County Commissioner Lois Wexler said.
Over half of the bus drivers in the county haven’t been involved in a single accident in the last four years. But the ones who are getting into accidents, are getting into a lot of them — and they’re some serious collisions, too.
Lukic found that there were even bus drivers who were driving without a valid driver’s license. Under the regulations, drivers are required to report when their driver’s license is expired or has been suspended. The ones who didn’t report this were supposed to get in trouble — but they didn’t. There were two drivers in particular who should have been fired for failing to meet the 10-day reinstatement requirements. But that didn’t happen either.
Call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
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South Florida Distracted Driving Problem Worse than Thought?, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 14, 2013