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Rangel: Let’s Allow Bus Drivers to Kill People With the Right of Way

12:24 PM EDT on April 22, 2015

Congressman Charlie Rangel condemned the Right of Way Law earlier this week, joining the Transport Workers Union to argue that the law should allow MTA bus drivers to kill people who have the right of way.

Photo: Politic365

Speaking to bus drivers and TWU officials Monday at the Mother Clara Hale Depot in Harlem, Rangel said it was “stupid” to charge bus drivers with a misdemeanor for injuring and killing people with the right of way, according to Daily News reporter Pete Donohue, a Right of Way Law critic who has devoted a lot of ink to the TWU campaign to exempt drivers from the law.

Echoing the TWU, Rangel said that hitting people who are walking or biking with the right of way is just part of the job of driving a bus.

"Common sense would indicate that when (lawmakers) were thinking about this, the last thing in the world they were thinking about is a bus driver doing their duty would be arrested," Rangel said. "Right now, we should be calling the mayor and telling him, ‘Don’t embarrass yourself.’ Anybody can make a mistake and this is just one big damn mistake, that’s all, because isn’t a joke [sic]."

After years of drivers hitting people with virtually no accountability, the Right of Way Law gave NYPD and prosecutors a tool to impose at least some consequences against motorists for harming people who were following traffic laws. To Rangel, applying this law consistently "doesn’t make any damn sense at all.”

Speaking of making no damn sense at all, the TWU unveiled more propaganda blaming victims for getting hit by bus drivers:

Our emphasis is to protect our Bus Operators from being arrested for non negligent accidents. The solution is to fix the systemic causes of right-of-way accidents involving MTA buses, including street design, MTA bus routing, pedestrian and cyclist behavior, and lines of sight on buses.

Street design, bus design, and bus routing are all factors that should be examined, but let's get one thing clear: Of the nine pedestrians killed by MTA bus drivers in 2014, eight were crossing with the right of way.

Yet by TWU's telling, the only ones who aren't responsible for bus drivers killing people are bus drivers. "NYC's Vision Law [sic] unfairly and illogically targets Bus Operators," the union claims.

No, the law only says that if any driver strikes someone walking or biking with the right of way, that driver should pay a fine and face a misdemeanor charge. What would be unfair and illogical is to carve out an exemption that lets MTA bus drivers kill people with impunity.

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