City buses are a common presence in daily life.  Many of us rely on SEPTA or New Jersey Transit buses to take us where we need to go.  Oftentimes, they are a safe and cost effective alternative to taking your own car to your next destination.  However, when a bus is involved in a collision with another vehicle, a bicycle, or a pedestrian, the consequences can be catastrophic. 

Three pedestrians were killed in 63 accidents involving SEPTA buses in 2012.  Some SEPTA bus drivers have begun urging SEPTA to reposition outside rearview mirrors to protect pedestrians.  These bus drivers fear that they will run over people they can’t see.  They contend that the rearview mirrors create a blind spot that endangers pedestrians, especially during left turns.  SEPTA officials have acknowledged that the mirrors create temporary blind spots but they have resisted refitting the mirrors on their fleet of 1,400 buses.  The officials have stated that refitting the mirrors could cause other safety issues.  So instead of refitting the mirrors, SEPTA has increased driver training to teach operators how to reduce blind spots. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that from 2000 through 2011, 462 pedestrians were killed in transit bus accidents in the US.  Last year, 13 SEPTA pedestrian accidents involved left-turning buses, down from 17 in 2011 and 19 in 2010, and up from six in 2008.  Drivers are especially critical of the left-side mirrors on SEPTA’s New Flyer buses, which make up the bulk of the fleet.  Those vertical mirrors, about 14-by-7 inches, are bolted next to the roof pillar and can obscure drivers’ views of people or cyclists.  One SEPTA driver has suggested that a mirror up high would work better.  Some drivers have said they prefer smaller, square mirrors that are installed on other bus models.  SEPTA believes that changing the mirrors could cause other problems or hazards.  It is possible that a roof-mounted mirror could divert a driver’s eyes away from the road.  The American Public Transportation Association has said that the issue is a national problem.  Devices such as cameras, sensors, flashing lights, and audible signals have been tried by other transit agencies with varying degrees of success.  Too many alerts can pose an additional distraction for drivers. 

Have you or someone you know been injured in a bus accident in New Jersey or Pennsylvania?  Were you injured by a bus whose driver could not see you because of a blind spot?  If so, give Stark & Stark’s Accident & Personal Injury attorneys a call to discuss your situation.  The last thing you need is to worry about finding someone to protect your rights. We are here to help, so let us use our expertise in this area of the law to help you.  The bus companies have attorneys working hard on their side, and so should you.