This case involves a commuter who was run over by a municipal shuttle bus that was en route to a train station around 7:45 am. The commuter was running late and saw the bus arrive at the stop. As he approached the bus, the driver shut the doors in his face. The commuter knocked on the doors to try to get the bus driver to reopen the bus, but the driver pulled away, knocking the commuter over. He was rushed to the hospital but died in transit from his injuries. An expert in bus safety was sought to speak to the proper operation of these vehicles as well as the training operators should receive with regards to the safety of bystanders and passengers.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in the operation and training of buses.
- 2. What type of training should operators receive with regards to using tools like their mirrors?
- 3. What are the protocols a bus driver should heed when pulling out of a pickup area?
Expert Witness Response E-010209
I have been driving buses for 33+ years and have been a bus driving instructor for 17 years, operating school buses, transit/shuttle buses, and motorcoaches up to 45′ long. As the safety manager for a charter bus operation, I am responsible for vetting all potential applicants prior to hiring. I have engaged in cases involving transit-style buses loading passengers and then pulling away before passengers were seated. In motorcoach operations, it’s very common to do shuttle operations. Two of the most important concepts to keep in mind when departing a stop is awareness of the 12-foot danger zone around the bus and a proper five-point mirror check. In addition, when departing a stop, it’s important for a driver to slowly pull away from the curb and to check both left and right mirrors, both for possible obstructions and for people who are doing exactly what the plaintiff in this case did. While his actions were not safe, they are one of the common errors made by people attempting to get the bus driver’s attention and are to be expected by any driver, particularly in a busy area.