Transit union blames bus accidents on faulty mirrors

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A union for transit workers is blaming faulty mirrors for bus accidents after the death of woman who was struck by a bus in the Washington, D.C. suburbs on Tuesday. 

The woman, a 67-year-old Rockville, Md. resident, was struck and killed by a bus on the Montgomery County Ride On transit system in Bethesda on Tuesday, according to local media reports

The Washington, D.C.-based Amalgamated Transit Union said the accident and other similar incidents could be avoid if U.S. transit agencies would make changes to the placement of mirrors on the driver side of buses. 

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“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this woman. But this tragic fatal accident did not have to happen,” ATU International President Larry Hanley said in a statement. 

“Crosswalks are the industry’s Achilles heel and blind spots for operators created by poor bus design are the reason why," he continued. "Yet the industry continues to ignore this problem, unfairly blaming bus drivers, many of whom get prosecuted for these preventable accidents.”

The ATU said large mirrors on the driver side of buses create blind spots for drivers, who are often unable to see pedestrians who are walking in crosswalks. The union said European buses typically have smaller mirrors with lower placement on the side of vehicles to give drivers unobstructed views of crosswalks and other surroundings. 

"We engineered safe buses over half a century ago, only to trade safety for higher profit and lower cost. Europe has safe buses now,” Hanley said. “The American public deserves no less today.

“This senseless tragedy could have been prevented and the solution is staring APTA and transit agencies right in the face,” Hanley continued. “The American public deserves safety to come first and until the industry demands a change in the design of buses to remove the unnecessary blind spots like European buses, people will continue to die in these preventable accidents."