Under New York City’s Vision Zero law, there are criminal consequences for killing someone, even if it’s an accident, and this has some MTA bus drivers very unhappy after a colleague was arrested on Tuesday evening. Reginald Prescott, 57, was charged with failure to failure to yield — a misdemeanor since the new statute took effect in August — for striking and killing pedestrian Jean Bonne-Annee, 78, as he was walking in the crosswalk. To protest the arrest, city bus drivers took part in a slowdown earlier today according to the New York Post:
Operators at six depots including the Flatbush Depot on Fillmore Avenue, where Prescott is assigned, and the Jackie Gleason Depot Depot on 5th Avenue in Sunset Park delayed buses at the start of their shifts Wednesday morning.
The NYPD, which has been facing mounting criticism for not thoroughly investigating fatal crashes, was reportedly sympathetic to the driver:
Sources said the arresting officers admitted to Prescott that “this is ridiculous, but we have orders and we have to follow them.” Outraged bus drivers and union officials said it was unheard of for an operator to be cuffed for an accident.
A yellow cabbie from the Bronx was the first motorist charged under the new law in August for hitting and killing a pedestrian. Including this most recent accident, MTA bus drivers are responsible for killing eight pedestrians this year.
In December, the transit agency faced some backlash and charges of victim blaming for releasing PSAs that fault pedestrians and cyclists for collisions. In his criticism of the spots, Transportation Alternative’s Paul Steely White wrote: “The bad news is that these videos focus only on the need for pedestrians and cyclists to change their behavior, misrepresenting what’s actually killing people on our streets.”