RFTA taking steps to ensure safe driving
In response to a recently published letter from Kim Vieria encouraging RFTA to set an example for other drivers by curbing speeding by its buses, our simple response is that we agree. We have an obligation to the people of the Roaring Fork Valley to operate a safe, efficient transit service and agree that RFTA personnel should not be held to a lower standard than any other driver. RFTA drivers are subject to the same traffic laws as any other drivers on the road and we have found that local law enforcement personnel are not shy about ticketing our drivers for speeding and other offenses that we may commit from time to time, which is as it should be.
As noted in the letter, following the horrific accident at Brush Creek on March 4, RFTA asked local law enforcement agencies to step up enforcement of traffic-light violations. RFTA greatly appreciates the Colorado State Patrol, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Basalt Police Department for their responses to our request. Although the RFTA driver was not speeding or found to be at fault for the accident on March 4, RFTA recognizes that the speed of the other vehicle was a contributing factor to the accident.
We believe that we employ some of the most professional, safety conscious drivers of any transit system in the country and we proudly support them; however, please know that RFTA treats all traffic violations committed by our personnel very seriously and there are disciplinary consequences when these are reported to RFTA, whether by the police, the public or RFTA employees. RFTA drivers undergo extensive safety training before they are allowed to operate a bus and are given regular supplementary safety training throughout their employment.
Two new ways in which RFTA is being proactive to discourage speeding is by providing new radar equipment to our road supervisors to enhance their ability to monitor bus speeds in the field and by implementing an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system on all of our vehicles. The AVL system will discourage speeding by automatically alerting drivers to when they are exceeding the posted speed limit and by allowing RFTA dispatchers to monitor bus speeds in real time so that they can warn speeding drivers to slow down. As Ms. Vieria suggests, we will use some of our federal grant funds for the VelociRFTA Bus Rapid Transit system to implement the AVL system.
Finally, RFTA encourages the public to help us discourage speeding by calling (970) 925-8484 (displayed on most RFTA buses) or (970) 384-4955 whenever anyone observes any RFTA vehicle operating in an unsafe manner. When you call, please provide the bus number and the approximate time and location where you witnessed the unsafe driving so that we can modify the behavior of the individual involved rather than indicting all of our skilled and dedicated bus drivers. All calls from the public regarding RFTA vehicle operations are tracked and appropriate follow-up action is taken.
Chief operating officer, RFTA
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