Bus accidents in New York City could now result in jail time for drivers. The Vision Zero Failure to Yield Law allows NYPD officers to arrest MTA bus drivers who city traffic laws. The drivers can even face criminal charges for offenses that were previously deemed too minor to warrant action. MTA officials say this unnecessary pressure makes it difficult for their drivers do their jobs. However, safety advocates saw the law is a step in the right direction, especially because bus accidents in New York City are often fatal.
The Failure to Yield law was introduced by the Mayor’s office and, as mayoral spokesperson Wiley Norvell said recently “is a vital tool in our effort to protect pedestrians and make out streets safer.” Under the law any driver involved in a pedestrian accident in New York automatically faces misdemeanor charges-including bus drivers. In December of last year the new law was put to the test when an MTA bus driver was arrested after the vehicle he was driving fatally struck a 78-year old man while he was crossing the street in Flatbush. (His trial was recently been put on hold due to MTA strikes and political pressure.)
Under the new law 18 individuals, including 6 MTA bus drivers, have been arrested for failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks just since last summer.
Darryl Irick, vice president of buses, says the law goes too far and that drivers are already “held accountable” internally.
Board Member Charles Moerdler asks “Why should bus drivers be treated differently?”, pointing out that civilian drivers are held to similar standards during pedestrian accidents, facing criminal charges and even jail time.
If you have been injured in a bus accident in New York, or you’ve lost a loved one to an accident involving public transportation, contact a New York City bus accident attorney today to discuss your case confidentially. You could be entitled to monetary compensation for your losses. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.