CHICAGO, IL- According to chicago.cbslocal.com, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has paid out $60 million in settlements and verdicts because of negligent bus drivers. Reports indicate that the bus drivers involved in accidents in Chicago should never have been hired because their driving records indicated past driving infractions.
Disturbingly, when CTA hires new drivers, they do not look into the drivers’ traffic ticket records. Instead, the CTA settles for determining that the person’s license is in good standing. This policy has led to the hiring of drivers whose records indicated that they had previous driving infractions.
In one incident, a CTA bus driver was caught on camera passing a car on Grand Avenue and driving into an intersection when the light was red. The bus struck a vehicle that was driving on Kedzie. The driver of the vehicle the bus hit was severely injured in the collision. Miriam Bragar sustained broken bones, a ruptured spleen, and a traumatic brain injury.
The man operating the bus, Anthony Miller, had been driving for the CTA for 11 months and had been involved in another accident just two days prior to striking Bragar’s car. Miller’s driving record from before he was hired showed that he had received five speeding tickets, citations for improper lane usage, and for disregarding a traffic control device, among other reported violations.
Despite his record, CTA put Miller behind the wheel of a passenger bus, putting those who use public transit, and everyone on the road in Chicago at risk of being injured by a negligent driver in control of a vehicle that weighs tens of thousands of pounds.
Bragar received an $8 million award as a result of Miller’s negligent driving.
Amy Koplin, whose feet were run over by a CTA bus leaving her unable to walk, said that her injuries could have been prevented by looking the driver’s records too.
While CTA representatives claim they turn down many applicants because of their driving records. However, they admit that they need to take steps to improve their screening process.
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