A recent investigation has found that distracted driving complaints against New Jersey transit drivers are on the rise
Investigation reports some disturbing instances of bus driver distractions
Complaints about NJ Transit bus drivers driving while distracted have seen a big increase in the past year, according to NJ Advance Media. Figures show that complaints in 2014 increased by more than a quarter, with some of those complaints revealing some disturbing driving behaviors by some bus drivers. Although mass transit accidents are rare, the increase in distracted driving complaints should concern anybody on New Jersey’s and New York’s roads and highways, especially since mass transit drivers have the lives of hundreds of passengers in their hands everyday.
In 2014 there were 156 complaints related to NJ Transit drivers being distracted while behind the wheel, which was a dramatic 26 percent increase from distracted driving complaints received in 2013. One complainant even claimed that a bus driver was observed using video messaging with Skype while driving.
Such distractions are extremely dangerous. The AAA, for example, notes that with a vehicle going 60 mph, a driver who takes his or her eyes off the road for just two to three seconds has effectively driven the length of a football field blindfolded. On New Jersey and New York’s busy roads, the dangers posed by distracted drivers should be obvious.
The rise in distracted driving complaints prompted NBC New York to conduct their own investigation into distracted NJ Transit drivers. In the course of their six-month investigation they observed six cases of bus drivers not looking at the road and not having their hands on the steering wheel. All of the distractions were because the drivers were counting tickets, which is only supposed to be done at the end of a driver’s shift.
That investigation recorded some frightening instances of the dangerous situations distracted driving on mass transit can lead to. In one case, for example, a bus driver was counting tickets and had his eyes off the road while going through the Lincoln Tunnel, which was described as crowded at the time. Another driver was recorded swerving into oncoming traffic; again because he was counting tickets instead of paying attention to the road.
Mass transit accidents don’t happen everyday, but when they do occur they have the potential to harm a great number of people. Bus and other mass transit drivers have a duty to ensure they drive as safely as possible in order to protect the countless passengers they carry everyday. Unfortunately, it only takes one careless driver for something to go horribly wrong.
Anybody who has been injured in a mass transit accident in the New Jersey and New York areas should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. While receiving compensation for injuries sustained in such accidents is important, mass transit accidents differ substantially from other motor vehicle accidents in terms of liability and other legalities. As such, mass transit accident victims should only rely on the services of an attorney who has a proven track record handling these unique and often challenging cases.