Yet another UTA bus is involved in a bus versus motorist accident in Ogden on March 14, 2012. According to KSL News, the Utah Transit Authority driver blew a stop sign at the intersection of 25th Street and Harrison Blvd. in Ogden, Utah, and collided with an SUV. The force from the impact sent both vehicles into the front yard of a local resident, with the bus stopping just feet from hitting the house. Both drivers had to be extracted from their vehicles.
According to reports, the driver of the SUV is said to be in critical condition, with the bus driver only suffering minor injuries and has already been released from the hospital. Authorities report that the bus had just started its run from Ogden to Salt Lake City and had no passengers aboard when this happened. No citation have been issued.
I offer my best wishes to the drivers injured in this crash, especially the SUV driver who was reported to be in critical condition.
UTA is at it again with its defectively-trained and supervised drivers. The culture at UTA appears to be that its bus drivers can drive irresponsibly and that UTA will bail them out and/or defend them. Take this case for example. The report says that no citations were issued despite the fact that a witnesses reported seeing a UTA bus fail to stop at a stop sign! I have seen the same thing in a case I was involved in where a bus hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk. No citation was issued then despite it being against the law to hit pedestrians in crosswalks!
And just a few weeks ago on February 21, when a UTA bus failed to stop at a crosswalk, when two other motorists had, and knocked down and killed a prominent Salt Lake City businessman, the report said that no citations were issued then! Why not? Maybe the fact that UTA is a Utah governmental agency with connections to law enforcement (and its own UTA police) has something to do with it. After a crash involving a car or pedestrian, UTA will typically dispatch their own investigative team that will intercede and take an active part in the investigative process, to the point that they feed the media sound bites at the scene in a way that minimizes the UTA driver’s involvement in the collision. In other words, they bury their heads in the sand and will usually keep the driver on payroll whose irresponsible driving led to the collision in the first place.
I personally saw a UTA bus roll through a red light while making a right-hand turn in Orem two days ago. I couldn’t believe it. I then read the comments to this news story and recognized that I’m not the only one who thinks that UTA allows and sanctions unsafe driving from its bus drivers. In this case, I would be surprised if the bus driver was terminated, since they seem to collect and protect these types of drivers.
I read with interest where the story where it says that UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter will “look at whether there were any common factors in the accidents, other than the route, that can be prevented from happening again.” Well Mr. Carpenter, how about you start by hiring and training safe drivers!! Hold regular safety meetings and training sessions. Let the drivers know that there is zero tolerance for unsafe driving, rolling stop signs, etc. Then objectively investigate these collision incidents and terminate drivers who played any contributing role to the crash happening. Let the drivers know you’re serious about safety, primarily the community’s safety and want to prevent against the carnage and death that can and does result when its drivers are not driving safely.
In this case, I strongly encourage the injured SUV driver to seek the assistance of legal counsel. With serious injuries being reported, and with UTA’s reputation of beating down the victims its bus drivers maim and kill, he or she will likely need all the help they can get.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to Ron Kramer, a Utah personal injury and accident attorney.