MTA Bus Driver Criminally Charged Under City’s New Right-of-Way Law

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Last month, an MTA bus driver had been operating his Q59 bus south on Union Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The driver turned left on Grand Street and struck a 15-year-old girl who had been in a crosswalk. The girl had a walk signal when the bus turned left. The bus pinned the girl under the left front wheel. Following the accident, emergency personnel rushed the girl to Bellevue Hospital, where she remained in serious condition. The girl suffered serious injuries to one leg, which may have to be amputated.

MTA Bus Driver Handcuffed After Accident

The bus driver remained on the scene, and police arrested and handcuffed the driver for failing to abide by the City’s new right-of-way law. The law is part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero traffic-safety campaign. Under the new law, it is now a misdemeanor if a pedestrian or cyclist is injured who has the right of way. Instead of receiving a ticket, the driver was charged with a criminal misdemeanor. Police also charged the driver with failure to exercise due care.

Over 29 years and driving more than 450,000 miles, the bus driver had an impeccable driving record. The driver had to be treated for emotional trauma following the accident. Bus drivers and union officials are upset over how the bus driver has been treated like a criminal under the new law. They believe that the new law unfairly treats bus drivers. J.P. Patafio of Transport Workers Union Local 100 said that “we drive for a living on the busiest streets in America” and “the law of averages has it we’re going to get into an accident.” The following day, three Brooklyn bus depots protested the new law and the bus driver’s arrest by delaying their routes.

Other groups, however, have lauded the new law. Transportation Alternatives, which advocates for bicyclists, celebrated the arrest and stated that “violent criminal acts like this are all too common.” According to Steely White, head of Transportation Alternatives, “MTA bus drivers struck and killed nine pedestrians last year, and eight of those cases involved a driver failing to yield while making a turn.” Transportation Alternatives and advocates believe the new law is an important step to make sure that bus drivers and other drivers exercise due care.

Injured in a Bus Accident? Contact a New York MTA Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, an experienced MTA accident lawyer can help you recover damages for your injuries. The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum has experience helping MTA bus accident victims throughout New York obtain compensation for their injuries.

Contact New York MTA accident lawyer Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum at (718) 237-5586 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a consultation and case evaluation today.

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