SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 17, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Transit Authority has completed its investigation into a May 5 incident during which a UTA bus took off without its driver, and passengers were left to stop the rolling vehicle.
The agency also released video of the incident, which can be seen by clicking on the player above. UTA has obscured the passengers’ faces.
Investigators found that it was operator error that caused the incident, which happened on Foothill Drive. The driver pulled over after an engine overheated, and he left the bus to look into the problem and reset the battery.
But the driver had failed to set the parking brake, and the bus began to roll, slowly.
The bus traveled about 60 feet before passengers, who rushed to the front of the vehicle, were able to hit the brakes.
“Their quick thinking and actions should be recognized and commended,” said a statement released by the UTA.
UTA chief safety and security officer Dave Goeres also commented.
“I want to apologize that one of our passengers was injured in her efforts to support the operator,” he said in UTA’s prepared statement. “Something like this should never happen and I want to assure the public that UTA is taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Shortly after the incident occurred, a supervisor responded to the scene, interviewed the operator and requested courtesy cards from the nine passengers aboard. Six were received. All of those passengers have since been contacted and interviewed.
That same day, maintenance conducted an inspection of the bus and ensured all systems were reset and in good working order.
UTA announced the following steps it would take to ensure the incident would not be repeated:
- The operator has been retrained on the standing procedure for exiting the bus, which states that the operator must “set the parking brake whenever leaving the driver’s seat.”
- Notices are being posted in our bus garages to remind operators of the need to always set the parking brake before leaving the driver’s seat.
- A sign/sticker will be placed near the door activation and parking brake control knobs of all buses reminding the operator to set the brake before leaving the seat.
- Stickers are being placed near the battery on all buses that reminds the operator to ensure that the parking brake has been set before disconnecting the battery.