One of our recently settled cases for $4,500,000 involved a pedestrian and a bus. At the time of the incident, which occured on February 14, 2006 at around 3 pm, the plaintiff was walking eastbound on Crown Street in Brooklyn. Upon arriving at the intersection of Crown Street and Utica Avenue the light was red, so the plaintiff stopped, stood and waited. Eventually, the pedestrian crosswalk signal indicated that ti was safe to cross Utica Avenue, so the plaintiff proceeded to step off the curb and cross the avenue in the designated crosswalk. As she was doing so, she was struck by the defendents’ school bus, which was making a left turn from Crown Street onto Utica Avenue.
According to Crash Statistics Online, there were 12, 498 non-fatal bus accidents just last year. 481 of those bus accidents, 3.85 %, occured in the State of New York. This number is significantly higher then the rest of the northeast and mid atlantic. However, just about any state in the rust belt region has higher bus accident rates then New York and another big state, California, nearly triples our bus accident total.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has recently conducted research on bus and passenger accident prevention. They have created five phases to help in accident prevention:
1. Development and Implementation of an accident prevention program
2. Selection, Training, Evaulation and, if necessary, termination of transit system employees
3. Promotion of Patron Safety/Awareness
4. Design options available in the vehicle procurement phase that will prevent accidents
5. Development of Safety Policies and Procedures