Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Metrobus cameras lead to 20 firings, 222 suspensions as drivers caught running red lights, talking on cell phones

Drivers nailed for talking on cell phones, running red lights

Metro has fired 20 bus drivers in the past five months after new cameras filmed them using cell phones while behind the wheel.

The Metrobus cameras have caught bus drivers misbehaving 1,173 times in that period, prompting 222 suspensions for various infractions as well as the 20 firings.

Aimed at the driver's seat, the cameras are intended to help train Metro's bus operators how to better navigate the region's traffic-filled streets. But they also are catching drivers speeding, driving without seat belts and chatting on forbidden cell phones. The most common violation has been running red lights.

The $3 million addition of the cameras in the fall has even caused the agency to take the blame more often for bus crashes. Previously about 35 percent of all Metrobus accidents were deemed "preventable," the agency's way of saying the driver was at least partly to blame for the crash, Metro Assistant General Manager of Bus Service Jack Requa said. Since the cameras were added, the rate has crept up to 40 percent because the agency is seeing things it couldn't before. Metro says drivers could have prevented 351 of the 883 crashes that occurred March through June. (more)