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Albany Legislators Pledge Support to End Bus Operator Arrests

More than 1,300 Local 100 members who attended Lobby Day on March 24, 2015 heard key Albany legislators line up behind the union’s legislative initiative to end the arrest of Bus Operators under Vision Zero. Assemblyman Walter Mosley’s bill (A6048) to decriminalize Vision Zero as it relates to Bus Operators got a huge boost as a result of our lobbying efforts. Sen. Martin Malave Dilan pledged to introduce companion legislation on the Senate side in his address to the Lobby Day assembly.

TWU Tells Albany: #WEARENOTCRIMINALS

Capturing the anger of Bus Operators over the Vision Zero law that has criminalized their profession, Local 100 President John Samuelsen speaks to members who thronged the Empire State Plaza concourse for the Union’s Lobby Day event. Overturning the law – which has put Bus Operators under arrest even where no reckless or unlawful behavior has occurred – is a major objective of the Union for this legislative session both in Albany and at the New York City Council.

Working Families Party Endorses Bill to De-Criminalize Bus Operator Accidents

The New York State Working Families Party, an influential backer of Mayor de Blasio and other progressive elected officials, has issued a Memorandum of Support for City Council Bill Int. 663, "An amendment to Vision Zero law Int. No. 238, creating a new subdivision of the law clarifying exemption of City bus operators from right of way codification."

Read the Daily News story here.

The bill was introduced in the Council by Daneek Miller (D-Southeast Queens), a former Bus Driver, and has garnered significant support in the Council. It its Memorandum, the Working Families Party cites the "impossible situation" in which Bus Drivers are placed by the current Vision Zero law, which mandates an arrest for "failure to yield" at an intersection when there is a pedestrian accident. The impossible situation is created because mass transit Bus Operators, alone among public employees, must negotiate dozens of turns each day into busy pedestrian crosswalks where both the bus and the pedestrians have the right of way. When accidents occur, either through inadvertent carelessness on the part of the pedestrian, glare or lines of sight which prevent the Operator from seeing, the Operator is held culpable under Vision Zero even when no recklessness occurs.

The Bill would stop the automatic arrests of Bus Operators after "right of way" accidents, allowing the current MTA accident investigation system to take its course, assigning culpability, if warranted, following the investigation. Click "read more" for the complete text of the Memorandum of Support.

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