Oregon Bus Accidents Could be Cut by Simple Safety Measures

Last month, two people died and three others were injured in a Portland fatal bus accident when they were hit by a Tri-Met bus making a left-hand turn. Now, an investigation by The Oregonian demonstrates that data on the problem of busses and left-turn accidents has existed for some time, and that measures implemented in other cities could prevent Oregon bus accidents like the one that took place in late April.

The newspaper cites a federal study showing “that bus-pedestrian collisions are more than twice as likely to happen during left turns.” It notes that other cities, including Des Moines, Iowa and Cleveland, Ohio, instituted relatively simple procedures following the study’s release in an effort to improve safety. In both cities, for example, bus drivers are forbidden to make left-hand turns and are required to honk their horns before turning right. The article notes that six cities, including Cleveland and Richmond, Virginia, are equipping vehicles with “pedestrian warning systems”. In Richmond, for example, a loud recorded voice announces “Caution: bus turning” whenever the vehicle turns out of an intersection.

The newspaper quotes a Tri-Met spokeswoman, however, saying that a ‘no left turns’ policy for preventing Oregon bus accidents is not feasible in downtown Portland because of the way the city’s streets are laid out. The spokeswoman also dismissed the idea of a policy to require honking as busses turn on the grounds that it would make drivers rely on the horn “instead of their awareness of pedestrians.”
In the wake of last month’s Portland fatal bus accident, news of the federal study is particularly surprising because, as the paper notes, “Tri-Met is no stranger to left-turn bus accidents.” Just this week the transit authority “agreed to pay a record $1.5 million to a woman who lost a leg” in a Portland crosswalk accident in 2008.

That settlement is a reminder that justice is possible in the wake of an Oregon bus accident if one has the determination to fight for it. A Portland personal injury lawyer with special expertise in fatal and injury-causing Oregon bus accidents can guide clients through the court system to help ensure that justice is done. Fighting the resources of city, county or state government is never an easy task, but an Oregon bus accident attorney can help you at every step along the way.

The Oregonian: Left-turn bus accidents, like fatal one in downtown Portland, alarmingly common among transit agencies