Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Buck Stops Here

Reading about the recent bus crash in New York City is a reminder as to quite how precarious life as a bus driver can be. All for £7-8 per hour, too.

It was a horrendous crash. The bus turned over and fifteen people were killed. It came a day after another bus crash which killed two people. As I write, it is not certain what the causes were.

The truly shocking thing though is, that having read the press coverage and what the official bodies have allegedly been saying, there seems to be an ongoing witch hunt against the driver and he is almost guilty before he can be found innocent. Sprawled across the media are stories that the driver has a manslaughter conviction, numerous traffic violations, served time for grand larceny and other problems.

But none of those convictions prohibited him from driving a bus. That's the law. The Governor now wants a full enquiry.

On a lesser scale, I knew a bus driver here who had a terrible time when he had an accident whilst reversing and someone was injured. Immediately the authorities and various individuals tried everything to pin the blame squarely on him, without taking into consideration many other factors. It was his age - he was too old to drive a bus. He couldn't see properly. He didn't look. He wasn't concentrating. On and on it went for a whole year, before charges were finally dropped. It was hell on earth for him. But similar to the USA, this driver fulfilled all the legal requirements, had the right licenses and had passed all the required medicals.

In America, who knows what happened? That's what the investigators' job is - to find out what went wrong and hopefully they will.

Here, each year there are new regulations which put the onus squarely on the driver. It is nervewracking if you sit down and think about it. If anything happens I know there will be an army of inspectors all over me, asking questions, demanding answers, checking into all aspects of my life, public and private.

Just look at what the National Transportation Safety Board investigator in New York is supposed to have said to the press:

"We want to know what he ate, what he drank and how much he slept."

They might regret asking me those questions at this precise moment - Lentil Curry, Irn Bru and nine hours sleep are a volatile combination.

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