Traffic citations are not a perfect reflection of a driver’s ability to navigate the roads safely. Many routinely flout traffic laws without getting caught, while others who might seem unlucky get ticketed every time they forget a turn signal or hover above the speed limit.
However, when such statistics are taken in the aggregate for a group of drivers, the results might seem at least a reasonable proxy for safe driving habits. The traffic laws are in place to ensure safety; when these laws are routinely violated, drivers are likely not traveling safely.
Accordingly, it might come as a surprise to Denver drivers that the city’s Regional Transportation District (RTD), which offers public transportation throughout the metro area, does not maintain data regarding the overall number of citations its drivers receive.
Incidents in which bus drivers are cited for traffic violations are handled on an individual basis. There are no clear standards for the treatment of a driver who has received a citation, and since personnel records are generally not subject to inspection, it is difficult to know how such offenses are handled.
A spokesperson for the RTD informed The Denver Daily News that this specific information is not as important as other statistics, such as the number of accidents involving buses or the frequency of passenger complaints. Although accident rates and the types of incidents affect training, the same is not true for traffic citations.
The decision not to monitor this information is unfortunate. In failing to capture data regarding the violation of traffic laws, the RTD is missing training opportunities and the potential to address what may be widespread safety problems.
Oftentimes bus accidents are caused by someone’s failure to follow the relevant traffic laws and it seems worthwhile to examine these incidents, even when accidents do not occur. Tracking accidents without tracking legal violations is essentially tracing the problem without considering the source. To protect Colorado drivers and passengers, the problems with traffic violations should be addressed and considered before these issues turn into accidents.