Media Center

Aug 16

Protran Technology’s “Talking Bus” & So-Called Visual Warning System are Band-Aids for Massive Mobile Manslaughter Machines

Silver Spring, MD – Protran Technology’s pedestrian bus turn warning and blind spot awareness systems are poor Band-Aids for the huge bus driver blind spots created by unsafe bus design says the Amalgamated Transit Union, the largest union representing transit workers in North America.

Roughly one pedestrian per week is killed by a transit bus in the North America. Buses have huge left hand mirrors, mounted in critical sight lines, that needlessly block the driver's vision and cause fatal pedestrian accidents. In fact, from the point of view of the bus driver, a dozen or more pedestrians crossing an intersection may be hidden behind the massive "A" pillar and left side mirror at any given time. North American transit buses in service today have not just one, but several enormous and unnecessary blind spots, including poorly placed fare boxes and other design defects.

“When we read the story about Protran Technology’s safe turn alert and blind spot awareness systems we thought it was an article from the ‘Onion’. It’s basically a speaker broadcasting a loud message to pedestrians saying ‘Run like hell, the bus driver can’t see you,” says ATU International President Larry Hanley. “ATU is all for new safety technology, but this is masking the real problem of the huge blind spots created by poor bus design.”

Transit systems from coast to coast continue to order buses with the flawed design of huge mirrors and massive “A” pillars and put them on the road. Bus operators have resorted to bobbing and weaving in their seat – the "rock and roll" method – in an attempt to see around these massive pillars and mirrors.

The Federal Transit Administration has sponsored studies on bus driver blind spots as long ago as a 2008 study and officially warned all transit agencies about the design flaw killing pedestrians, how the agencies have refuse to fix it.

There are buses being produced and used in Europe that have no driver blind spots, but transit agencies across North America refuse to buy these buses. Furthermore, there is a fix for the driver blind spot that costs under $300 per bus. That’s far less than the so-called safety add-ons sold in an attempt shift responsibility for these treacherous bus designs from manufacturers and transit agencies to vulnerable pedestrians.

The sound alert system has been tried in numerous cities and has repeatedly failed because the messages need to be loud enough to alert distracted pedestrians in very noisy environments. Living or working where buses turn countless times per day has also led to serious public anger over the disruptive din.

“These are just expensive technological Band-Aids masking the real problem of blind spots of these massive manslaughter machines,” Hanley continued. “The solution is staring New Flyer and transit agencies right in the face. Change the design of the buses to remove the unnecessary blind spots so we can take the blindfolds off of bus drivers and they can fulfill their mission to move people safely.”