A Sun Sentinel review of county records recently revealed that Broward County Transit Driver Charles Raymond Smith has had 16 accidents, received 25 written warning slips, and served 30 days of unpaid suspension, since he began his job in 1994. Among the accidents that the county said were Smith’s fault include rolling his bus into a truck carrying metal pipes that burst the bus’s windshield, rear-ending a car at a green light where four passengers were hospitalized, and his most recent accident where he rear-ended a Chrysler while changing lanes that resulted in the driver being injured in June, 2014. The injured woman sued and her case was the one commissioners recently settled for $75,000.
Despite his accident history and thousands of dollars in damages to civilians and public property, Smith, a 62-year-old North Lauderdale resident, is still driving Broward county buses and is set to retire in 2020. His accident history illustrates a driver disciplinary system county commissioners say is too forgiving. Despite lengthy negotiations over the last three years, stricter changes have yet to be put in effect due to transit officials and the bus drivers’ union having failed to reach an agreement. Currently, a driver’s accidents are forgiven in a rolling two-year period, and a driver isn’t fired unless he causes five "preventable" crashes in that time period. Research on the part of the Sun Sentinel revealed that in a five-year period ending in 2013, Smith had 14 accidents, ten of which were determined "unavoidable", and four determined to be "preventable."
According to the Sun Sentinel report, the county wants to expand the time an accident sticks on a driver’s record from two years to 36 months. Under the county’s stricter proposal, the driver would be held responsible for accidents for an additional year. The county also wants to be able to punish a driver according to the severity of the accident. Currently, punishment is progressive, no matter how serious the crash, starting with a warning and progressing to a one-day, three-day or five-day suspension.
When you board a bus, you probably don’t think twice about the driver’s accident history or experience. But when accidents happen, people get injured, and when the injuries are the result of negligence – either on the part of the driver, the bus company or the bus manufacturer – you have the right to seek compensation for your loss. If you were injured in a bus accident in Florida, you could be entitled to compensation. Putting together the necessary evidence to prove negligence in a bus accident can be complex, but an experienced Florida bus accident attorney will be able to assist. Since 1977, James Cunningham has been helping Florida bus accident victims receive justice and fair compensation for their injuries.
To ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your bus accident injuries, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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