Miami-Dade Transit and Metrorail employees all called in sick to protest wage cuts, but the buses were all up and running on schedule on Monday morning. The County is currently facing s $400 million budget deficit in the upcoming year. Officials are looking for any and all ways to cut corners to fill the gap. If its new budget plan is passed, these transit workers will not receive their expected three percent raise and they will be required to double their health care contributions and workers are not happy about it.
Safe transportation advocates worry about the cuts as they believe the reductions will affect the safety of our bus system and will increase the risks of fatal bus accident in Miami and elsewhere in the area. Transit officials are turning towards retired drivers to help cover shifts should the protest continue.
Our Miami bus accident attorneys understand that many residents and visitors rely on these buses to travel throughout the area. Busing accidents have the potential to seriously affect a rider’s entire life, from medical bills to lost time at work to life altering injuries. Those who have been involved in a public transit accident are urged to contact an attorney immediately as a number of statute of limitation laws apply and delay can limit your ability to make a claim.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were approximately 12,000 injuries sustained as a result of bus accidents in 2007 alone. Nearly 40 people died in these same types of accidents that year.
These statistics illustrate just how dangerous riding a public bus can be. Cutting wages for our bus drivers is no way to help ensure bus safety.
“I can tell you, positively, there will not be a work stoppage,” said John Bland of the Transport Workers Union Local 291. “We have encouraged all of the employees to report to work as usual.”
Through protesting bus drivers, people could potentially miss meetings, doctors appointments and work shifts. To help our residents get to their destination, the Miami-Dade Transit and Metrorail has called up retired transit drivers to help fill any shifts if needed, according to 7 News.
By recruiting the retired bus drivers, local officials may be putting our bus riders at even more danger. Drivers are required to be familiar with the bus route, the bus functions and the current traffic conditions. Calling in drivers that have not operated these vehicles in quite some time could put our riders at increased risks for an accident.
Although Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has a stated that it’s illegal for current bus employees to participate in any protesting actions, he still believes some will partake in opposing actions. He reiterates that there were be dire consequences to such individuals.
Besides poorly trained bus drivers, bus accidents can occur for a number of reasons:
-Bus driver negligence.
-Poor weather conditions, especially from rain during our Florida summers.
-Defective bus equipment.
-Improper maintenance. Companies are required to ensure that their buses are properly maintained and meet a number of federal safety requirements.
-Dangerous or blocked bus stop areas.
Miami-Dade County has set up bus rider alerts that will inform those who sign up if something is to change with the current bus schedule.
If you or someone you loved has experienced a bus accident in Broward/Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach or the Port St. Lucie area, the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Freeman & Mallard are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call today to schedule a free and confidential review of your case, 1-800-529-2368.
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