The average commuter probably takes it for granted that a trip on a city bus is not dangerous. Buses are safe, highly visible, and heavy vehicles. Traffic laws have special protections for buses. And drivers are (hopefully) well-trained. But for seven HART bus riders in Tampa, a recent trip took a very bad turn.
On July 15, 2013, a HART bus collided with a Volvo sedan on 56th Street near Hillsborough Avenue outside the Netpark office park. Seven passengers were sent to area hospitals, as were both drivers.
A spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol said that the bus driver was cited for making an improper left turn. He turned in front of oncoming traffic, and the Volvo driver tried to swerve to avoid the crash, but could not. The collision sent the bus directly into the edge of a large concrete Netpark sign, which became wedged into the front of the bus.
Although the bus driver was apparently at fault in the collision, he had a strong safety record. Records show he received awards for safety from HART three years in a row. His only citation was in 2010, when he was a new employee, and he bumped into a parked bus inside a bus depot.
This goes to show that even safe drivers make mistakes. Everyone on the road needs to take the personal responsibility to drive carefully and defensively.
Both drivers and one passenger suffered serious injuries, but all were expected to make a full recovery.