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CABS citations ‘not a common occurrence’

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Passengers board a CABS bus heading north on College Avenue on Nov. 11 outside the Ohio Union. Credit: Taylor Cameron / Lantern photographer

Passengers board a CABS bus heading north on College Road on Nov. 11 outside the Ohio Union.
Credit: Taylor Cameron / Lantern photographer

Campus Area Bus Service drivers are expected to obey the laws of the road just like every other licensed driver, but sometimes they fail to meet expectations — but an Administration and Planning spokesman said that isn’t common.

CABS, an Ohio State-based transit service used by many in the OSU community, had 4.9 million riders in 2013, said Administration and Planning spokesman Dan Hedman in an email.

And since 2012, CABS drivers have received at least nine traffic citations for a variety of reasons ranging from improper backing to hitting a pedestrian. 

As of Dec. 3 of this year, CABS drivers have received at least three citations: one for failure to control, one for assured clear distance and one for failure to yield and hitting a pedestrian, Hedman said.

According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, all three citations result in two points on the recipient’s driver’s license.

Columbus Division of Police officers issued the CABS driver a citation for failing to yield and hitting a pedestrian on North Fourth Street and East 13th Avenue on Monday morning. The driver is expected to return to duty roughly a week after the bus he was operating struck a pedestrian off-campus, Hedman said.

From 2012 to 2013, the number of citations issued to drivers doubled. In 2012, the traffic citations issued to CABS drivers were improper backing and failure to yield in a left turn. The following year the citations included failure to control, failure to yield in a left turn, speed and changing lanes without safety, Hedman said.

Points for speeding can range from zero to four points. Improper backing and changing lanes without safety violations result in two points each on the driver’s license, according to the BMV.

The traffic citations issued the most to CABS drivers in 2012-14 have been failure to control and failure to yield in a left turn. 

The Ohio Revised Code says failure to control is a misdemeanor when a driver fails to properly control the vehicle he or she is driving.

But prior to driving a CABS route, drivers are subjected to several steps of training to prepare them to drive a bus on campus, Hedman said.

“Citations are not a common occurrence and our drivers undergo extensive training to ensure safety and service are the top priority,” he said.

Driver training includes:

  • Classroom training in basic bus operation and defensive driving
  • Pre-trip inspections to get the trainees comfortable with the controls
  • Behind the wheel training with a trainer in about 40 “learning hours”
  • A maneuverability course
  • A mock Commercial Driver’s License test
  • The actual CDL test
  • Driving a CABS route with passengers and a trainer

“(The maneuverability course) consists of four maneuvers: straight line backing, offset backing, parallel parking and alley dock,” Hedman said. Most of the drivers’ training is without passengers and with a trainer. They also put in some time on the highway, Hedman said.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority has similar training for its drivers, including maneuverability, classroom training and other extensive training, said Lisa Myers, a COTA spokeswoman. COTA is a public transportation system used throughout Columbus and the surrounding areas of Central Ohio.

COTA also has its trainees go through customer relations and emergency management training, Myers said.

As for records kept on traffic citations for drivers, Myers said she wasn’t sure how or if those records were kept by the bus system.

A CDL is required for all commercial drivers prior to driving a commercial vehicle, including semi trucks and buses. According to the BMV, driving a commercial vehicle without obtaining or having a CDL in possession will result in two points each on one’s driver’s license.

There have been 388 drivers employed by CABS between 2012 and 2014, according to a roster Hedman provided to The Lantern.

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