Half of all public transportation incidents are the result of compromises in safety which are deliberate. Those people whose safety is compromised include passengers, pedestrians, motorists, and occasionally bicyclists, motorcyclists and even the vehicle’s driver.
Some of these compromises are made by drivers. But far more often, they are made above the driver level — deliberate compromises in policies, procedures, practices, training, monitoring, scheduling, dispatching, stop selection, system design, rate structures, vehicle design and specification, and many other deviations from industry standards of care. This negligence occurs because safety takes time, and often costs money.
- Because safety costs money, drivers are paid as little as possible. Driver shortages are routine. So negligent hiring may be common. But negligent retention is rampant. And it is almost always deliberate. Further, good management also costs money. So it is often poor, and usually thin.
- Because safety takes time, the most common cause of safety compromises is tight schedules. In many incident scenarios (e.g., wheelchair tipovers, or occupants not secured into their chairs), the vehicle was almost always running behind schedule.
As a lawsuit matter, proving safety compromises is critical because errors or omissions which are deliberate often lead to an assessment of punitive damages. Where evidence demonstrates that negligence was deliberate, lawsuits rarely proceed to trial.