In one of the more senseless MARTA accidents yet, a pedestrian has been struck and killed by a bus while crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd at H.E Holmes drive in Atlanta.
It was about 1:15 in the afternoon on Sunday, June 7th — in other words, broad daylight, and not during peak commuting hours. The pedestrian died at the scene, and an investigation indicated that the bus had run over the victim. No identifying information has been released, except that the victim was an adult.
Criminal charges have been filed against the driver.
Deaths Associated with MARTA Buses Are Far Too Common
This accident resembles plenty of others, in which the buses that are supposed to make Atlanta greener and more accessible have instead left a trail of unnecessary injuries and deaths. Almost exactly a year earlier, a woman was struck and killed by a MARTA bus on Cleveland Ave, and another was hospitalized for injuries to her feet caused by a separate MARTA bus in Midtown.
As recently as three months ago, a traffic collision involving another MARTA bus cost five lives, four of them minors. The roads were wet at the time of the crash, but the exact cause was not immediately apparent.
Pedestrians Have Right of Way in Crosswalks
Some of these accidents reflect badly on MARTA more due to their frequency than their individual circumstances, but this can’t be said of the fatality on MLK Blvd. Pedestrians have the right of way on crosswalks. It’s illegal for a vehicle to enter one if there is a pedestrian already using it, unless the pedestrian is on the opposite side of the road and more than a lane away.
Pedestrians are not allowed to dart in front of vehicles without leaving them room to stop, but in all other cases, accidents in crosswalks are the driver’s fault. Even when pedestrians exercise less than ideal timing, drivers have a duty to avoid hitting them if at all possible.
This person’s death was almost certainly avoidable and a result of the MARTA driver’s carelessness, distraction, or indifference.
The Driver Is Not the Only Party Who Failed at Keeping this Pedestrian Safe
Pressing criminal charges against the driver is reasonable under the circumstances, but it’s only the first step of addressing this tragedy, not the last. In conjunction with all the other accidents involving MARTA buses, this one should be taken as a sign that MARTA’s hiring, training, and/or working conditions for drivers are in need of examination and overhaul. It’s not clear whether this driver had an unsafe driving record before this incident, had too little experience, or was under dangerous pressure to complete routes on time at any cost. What is clear is that a fatal error was made, that it was not the first, and that MARTA has a responsibility to break this deadly pattern.
If you’ve been injured as a result of MARTA’s negligence, The Stoddard Firm can help.