The city’s largest transit workers union reached a settlement with the city following their lawsuit over the arrest of six bus drivers under a new Vision Zero law.
The “Right of Way” law made it a misdemeanor if a driver seriously injures or kills a pedestrian, and does not exercise due care.
The agreement between the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the city clarified that drivers will be prosecuted under a negligence standard, which puts the onus on law-enforcement to prove the driver acted recklessly.
It also affirms that failing to exercise to due care means a motorist who is not driving reasonably, such as texting while on the road.
The city also said in the agreement that the NYPD would look at blind spots bus drivers face before a crash, and that they would push the MTA for safer equipment.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 president John Samuelsen said the agrement will protect all city drivers, not just those in buses.
“This is a huge victory,” Samuelsen said. “Under this well-intentioned but poorly crafted law, bus operators were arrested and handcuffed like common criminals.”
He was also glad blind spots would be looked at more closely.
“This is extremely significant,” he said. “They’re a significant problem for pedestrian safety.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also praised the agreement.
“This settlement makes explicit what the City, the NYPD and District Attorneys mean by ‘due care,’ and the standard we are using as we implement this law,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Just as important is our work to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place, which is why the City is pushing for the safest possible bus equipment to ensure our hardworking bus operators have the tools they need to do their jobs safely. We look forward to partnering with the men and women of TWU Local 100 as we work to eliminate loss of life on our streets.”