San Francisco – City officials are looking into whether they can act on their own, without state legislation, to reduce San Francisco tour bus accidents. One step the City is considering, and one I wholeheartedly support, is the limitation of tour bus operators in their playing tour guide at the same time that they are driving, directing tours while also trying to drive safely through our busy city. The pedestrian death of Precy Moreto, right in front of city Hall, has spurred this recent activity from City Hall.
The City is hoping to enforce stricter regulations and local standards on tour bus companies, currently regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, but may only be able to enforce these regulations if the buses operate exclusively within San Francisco city limits.
“There may be some flexibility (for stricter regulations) for tour buses that don’t cross the county line,” said Supervisor Jane Kim.
A string of tour bus fatalities have acted as a catalyst to force City officials to consider all options available to regulate drivers.
Just this past month, a driver was arrested for vehicular manslaughter after running over city employee Precy Moreto as he was pointing out City Hall to tour bus passengers instead of keeping his eyes on the road.
“We strongly believe that a tour bus operator should not be giving a tour while driving. It clearly is leading to injuries, and in this case unfortunately, fatality.”
City attorneys are researching whether San Francisco can pass an ordinance requiring a non-driving tour guide, or if they can only pass a resolution on the issue, and hope that state lawmakers act.
“This type of activity absolutely should be regulated, if not by San Francisco then by the state,” commented Kim.
“Our first preference is legislation. If we can’t do legislation, we’ll pass a resolution.”
As a San Francisco pedestrian accident attorney, I stand behind the City officials in hoping that we can take action without the state legislature. It’s our City, and it’s up to us to lead the way and to act when the system here needs fixing. Tour bus drivers should focus entirely upon the road, and not on entertainingtheir passengers. Driving in the City is already dangerous enough without having to recall or conjure up the historic facts about each of our City’s landmarks.
Claude A. Wyle is a partner of Choulos Choulos, and Wyle, a San Francisco based law firm dedicated to representing clients who have been injured by the wrongful conduct of individuals, corporations, public entities, and businesses. Mr. Wyle also frequently sits as a Judge Pro Tem for the city and county of San Francisco.