Public Transit Expansion in the United States
I’ve recently become more interested in public transit systems. In some large metropolitan areas like New York City, Chicago, and Washington D.C., it’s perfectly common for residents to ditch their personal vehicle to rely solely on public options for their commute. I’m curious, though, about how expanding cities and tourist centers deal with the growing need for effective public transportation.
Funding, developing, building, staffing, and maintaining rail systems is a serious undertaking. When using public dollars to accomplish such goals, it seems as if everyone has an opinion.
When accidents happen, like train derailments or bus collisions, who ends up holding the bill? Information found from The Law Office of William J. Luse website mentions that bus accidents are often caused by driver fatigue, lack of bus maintenance, and inclement weather. Growing cities have no shortage of these factors.
Thus far in my research, I’ve found that the answers to these questions vary depending on the city and state of the particular rail or bus system. For example, the New York Metro Transit Authority is not a completely public entity. Rather, the NYMTA is classified as a public benefit corporation. There are components to this structuring that are governed by the public, however, there are also components which act as a private corporation. The MTA also isn’t subjected to the same regulations that public agencies are.
Growing Cities and Tourist Destinations
Los Angeles has long since been known for its terrible traffic and lack of options for commuters. However, in the November 2018 elections, Los Angeles residents voted to pass a $120 billion plan to expand rail routes by 100 miles and invest in more buses.
Both Austin and Nashville, though far less populated than Los Angeles have seen a population boom in the last five years. The growing population of both cities has left city officials and planners looking for both cost-effective and sensible solutions to deal with traffic and encourage continued growth. Though both have modest bus systems, it has proven difficult to pass legislation passing more comprehensive public transportation options, like expansive rail systems.
Of course, private companies, many of which are based out of Silicon Valley, have swooped in to offer quick private solutions like Lyft, Uber, Bird, and Lime. Cities and municipalities have had a complicated relationship with these companies. On one hand, they help solve a portion of the traffic congestion problem, on the other hand, these private companies have proven to be resistant to city regulation.
An interesting case for public transportation is Vail, Colorado. Many tourists visit Vail in the winter to take advantage of skiing. These visitors often have very little need for transit options as many of the resorts rest right at the base of the mountain. However, anyone who chooses to hop on a bus does so without paying any kind of toll or purchasing a ticket. The bus system is funded completely from tax dollars.
Driving under the influence (of drugs, alcohol, or medication) and being caught can have severe fines and jail time, mainly because it is considered a criminal offence is almost all states in the US. Along with the penalties, the driver’s license can also be suspended and revoked for a significant amount of time, which could spell hard times commuting on public transportation.
According to car accident lawyers at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., one option of reversing your revoked or suspended license is to file for an SR-22 bond. There are many insurance companies that often provide SR-22 bonds which allows their clients’ driver’s license reinstated sooner than the necessary time appointed by the court. This could be very beneficial especially if the client uses their vehicles every day.
Having an SR-22 means you have the financial capability to cover for possible expenses should an accident occur. An SR-22 is a high-risk insurance policy allowing problem drivers minimum insurance requirements. It is actually a protection for other motorists and people who could be at risk from the problem driver, allowing them to collect compensation straight from the insurance company.
A lot of states permit problem drivers to have their licenses reinstated provided they establish they are financially responsible through their SR-22 bonds. Having an SR-22 bond can also be the only way many problem drivers can have their licenses reinstated, and it can be troublesome because there are instances where licenses are revoked permanently, although many states can still reconsider their decisions. It may be a bit hard on pocket, but having an SR-22 can be the only way a revoked or suspended driver’s license will be reinstated.
So long as you keep paying your premiums, you can still keep your driver’s license using the SR-22 bond. Being offered to provide an SR-22 bond can be viewed as a second chance, because without this option it can mean losing your license altogether.
The growing use of mobile phones while driving has come to a point where it poses a considerable danger for everyone on the road. The finger has been constantly pointed at holding the phone while driving as a cause of distracted driving. As a response, there have been some initiatives for the use of hands free technology such as a Bluetooth headset while driving to eliminate the need for drivers to hold the phone to carry on a conversation. But it is doubtful whether using a Bluetooth headset to prevent car accidents is really the ideal solution to the problem of distracted driving. Distraction is a cognitive aspect rather than a mechanical one of driving. Reaching for the radio button, eating or fumbling with a cell phone are actions that do require a momentary shift of attention from the road.
However, studies show that engaging in a conversation over a mobile phone poses the greater danger because it is more prolonged. It impairs the ability of the driver to observe safety signs and react to situations in a timely manner almost as much as being inebriated. While a Bluetooth headset may keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, the mind is far and away, especially when the parties are fully participating. As a result, more car accidents occur due to cell phone conversations rather than cell phone use per se. So, even if a driver is using a hands-free device or Bluetooth headset, there is still a chance they will make a driving error and cause harm to other motorists.
Car accidents resulting from cell phone use in general are considered driver recklessness, and may be an actionable case. According to the website of Appleton-based Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, a car accident caused by distracted driving can plunge everyone involved in a complex legal situation. If you or a member of your family has been injured because the driver was using the cell phone, you should consult with a car accident attorney to assess your case.