4/17/2014

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Man on a mission to make TriMet safer after driver fatigue report

Man on a mission to make TriMet safer after driver fatigue report

PORTLAND, Ore. – A man hoping to make TriMet safer turned in his petition to the transit agency Wednesday that calls for limiting the number of hours drivers can work.

Noah Heller took up this cause shortly after reading an Oregonian investigation into bus driver practices. The paper exposed how some drivers work up to 22 hours in a 24-hour period.

Heller, who gets around the city by riding the bus, is not only hoping to make things safer for the people who ride buses but also for those who share the road with TriMet, including pedestrians, drivers and people on bikes.

Most people KATU News spoke with Wednesday were shocked to hear how much bus drivers are allowed to work in a single day. And just about everyone agreed something needs to change.

Heller was met with support as he went before the TriMet board Wednesday and politely demanded change.

He told the board if it doesn't do something about this in a timely manner, he would seek out state lawmakers and search for a fix through the Legislature.

"That's not only a risk to myself as a passenger, it's a risk to the drivers, it's a risk to pedestrians and it's a risk to anyone who shares the roads with them. It's unacceptable," he said.

Joining Heller at the table during the meeting was David Sale who has lawsuits pending against TriMet over the death of his daughter Danielle. She was one of two people who died three years ago when a TriMet bus driver made an illegal left turn and ran over Danielle and her friends.

"Now let's talk about the people you're killing. They're not even riding the bus," Sale told the board.

The president of the bus drivers union said some drivers would be open to change as far as limiting the number of hours that bus drivers can work consecutively but others would not. He said it really depends on what that change will be.

At last check, Heller had collected some 200 signatures for his petition.

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