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MTA Bus Drivers Union: Flawed Bus Design Creates Dangerous Hazard For Pedestrians

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- MTA bus drivers are on the defense, saying they're not the cause of pedestrian accidents.

As CBS2's Dick Brennan reported, drivers are blaming the bus and pointing to what they say is a fatal flaw.

Last year, the city passed the Right of Way law in which a driver who fails to yield to a pedestrian and exercise due care, causing serious injury or death, could be charged with a misdemeanor.

But outraged bus operators say they're taking the blame when it's not their fault. The union says newly-designed buses can become deadly, thanks to huge blind spots.

As 1010 WINS' Holli Haerr reported, union officials say the current bus design with a thicker pillar on the side of the windshield and a larger side mirror makes it difficult for the driver to see pedestrians.

"What's happened is that over the course of the last 30 years, the buses have been redesigned and the redesign blocks the view of the driver, particularly as they're making left turns in intersections," said Larry Hanley, International President of the Amalagamated Transit Union.

MTA Bus Drivers Union: Flawed Bus Design Creates Dangerous Hazard For Pedestrians

The union showed photos which they say demonstrates that in some cases, the driver simply can't see pedestrians below.

"There's a blind spot that's 14 inches wide that obscures not only one pedestrian but as many as 15," said Hanley.

In a statement, the MTA said they train bus operators to manage this issue by "leaning into and out of their mirrors while seated to ensure that their line of sight is not obstructed. Partial obstructions cannot be entirely avoided, but they can and must be effectively managed through seat adjustment and the effective use of mirrors on the bus."

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would examine all safety issues.

"If it turns out that the design of the buses creates a safety problem, can we fix that with different mirrors or some other adjustments? Do we need something bigger than that? That's a very valid question," the mayor said.

A Bill has been introduced in the City Council which would exempt bus drivers from the Right of Way law, Brennan reported.

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