The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced Friday plans to "customize" training for bus drivers in response to a recent fatal Chicago bus accident, an announcement that came as welcome news to Chicago bus accident attorney Gregory F. Coplan of Coplan & Crane, a Chicago-based law firm.
"Increased training for bus drivers designed to make Chicago's streets safer is always welcome news," Coplan said. However, he added he hopes the additional training helps reduce or eliminate altogether fatal bus accidents in Chicago. "The only way to measure if the CTA's new program works is if the number of fatal bus accidents declines in Chicago. And the ultimate goal must always remain zero bus fatalities in Chicago and across Illinois. Nothing less is acceptable."
CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. revealed the new program training program for bus drivers on Friday, according to a news reports published by the Chicago Tribune and NBC Chicago as well as other news sources. Specifically, the new training program includes "additional route-specific instruction for some routes, increased ride-along evaluations by managers and supervisors and an increase in the total number of training days for new bus operators," NBC Chicago reports. (NBC Chicago, "CTA Revamps Training for Drivers after Deadly Downtown Bus Crash," June 12, 2015).
The NBC Chicago story also noted that "Beginning later this month, bus drivers will be trained for six weeks, including classroom instruction and field training. The CTA also plans to have staff take part in a study to identify the most challenging routes."
Such changes are good start, but the CTA cannot become complacent in the future, according to Chicago bus accident lawyer Benjamin A. Crane of Coplan & Crane. "There's often a rush to make streets safer soon after an accident," Crane said. "What's harder is to maintain that vigilance and commitment to safety six months or one year down the road. CTA officials need to constantly do everything they can to make sure Chicago residents can safely walk our streets and ride our buses. This could mean additional training for drivers in the future, perhaps even more testing or monitoring. Keeping Chicago's streets safe is something that needs to be constantly done on a daily basis."
The fatal bus accident occurred June 2 at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street. Pedestrian Aimee Coath, 51, was killed in the accident, according to numerous stories from numerous news outlets, including the Chicago Sun-Times. ("Woman says she was passenger on CTA bus in fatal crash," June 9, 2015)