It’s always fun to write about good news related to traffic safety in San Francisco. That pleasure comes this week as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reports that in 2010, Muni bus accidents dropped 50 percent below the previous year. The improvement is attributed to a new camera installed in all Muni busses in November 2009 to record the cause of Muni accidents and monitor dangerous driving behavior of Muni operators. The 50 percent drop in bus accidents is an indication that the DriveCam will have a serious positive impact on San Francisco traffic safety.

What’s interesting about the statistics is that unavoidable bus accidents dropped a whopping 57 percent below 2009 figures, a much more impressive decline than the 33 percent reduction in avoidable accidents. This suggests that another factor – besides the DriveCam – must have contributed to an overall increase in bus and pedestrian safety throughout San Francisco. While 483 Muni accidents in 2010 is a major improvement from the 964 in 2009, it’s still far more than would be ideal, and I’d like to see the numbers drop even further in 2011.

“DriveCam works well as both a training tool and a disciplinary measure,” said SFMuni’s safety and security director Reginald Mason. “The operators are more aware of their actions because of the camera, and they’re receiving better training because of the information we’ve gathered from past accidents. When the operators know they have Big Brother watching them, it makes them want to do the right thing.”

It’s an odd 1984 reference. And I’d hope that San Francisco Muni operators are already going out of their way to drive safely. But it sounds like the DriveCam is making serious headway to reduce the number of San Francisco Muni accidents, so I’ll stop talking about Mason’s choice of words. Reducing Muni accidents carries a dual benefit: saving lives, and saving the city a bundle from avoiding pedestrian accident lawsuits.

So kudos to the San Francisco MTA for this great plan that has already shown an impact to improve safety on San Francisco streets!

Photo Credit: Noodles and Beef

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Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.