Can't believe I just saw a No 9 #trimet bus hit and run a parked car on NE Skidmore. #transitfail
trimetFollowed by one more tweet from Joseph Rose:
. @pdxcommute The incident was not a hit and run. Operator informed Dispatch and investigation is underway. #trimet
.@trimet ok. Thanks. It appeared that way. Operator didn't leave note on parked car she damaged. She just left the scene.
Interesting. It appears that standard TriMet procedure for a minor accident (involving possible property damage, but no disability to the bus or injury to anyone) is to notify dispatch and carry on. I am assuming that the notification to dispatch included the plate number of the struck vehicle, and that TriMet will be contacting the vehicle owner concerning settlement of any claims.
While I can understand the reason for this procedure--it's not good to delay a busload of commuters for a minor incident--is this legal?
ORS 811.700, which relates to the duties of drivers involved in collisions, says:
811.700. (1) A person commits the offense of failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged if the person is the driver of any vehicle and the person does not perform duties required under any of the following: (a) If the person is the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident that results only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by any other person the person must perform all of the following duties: (A) Move the vehicle as soon as possible off the roadway and to a suitable location. As used in this subparagraph, 'suitable location' includes but is not limited to an exit ramp shoulder, a frontage road and a cross street that is not a main highway. (B) Remain at the suitable location until the driver has fulfilled all of the requirements under this paragraph. (C) Give to the other driver or passenger the name and address of the driver and the registration number of the vehicle that the driver is driving and the name and address of any other occupants of the vehicle. (D) Upon request and if available, exhibit and give to the occupant of or person attending any vehicle damaged the number of any documents issued as evidence of driving privileges granted to the driver. (b) If the person is the driver of any vehicle that collides with any vehicle that is unattended, the person shall immediately stop and: (A) Locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle; or (B) Leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle doing the striking and a statement of the circumstances thereof.
(c) If the person is the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to fixtures or property legally upon or adjacent to a highway, the person shall do all of the following: (A) Take reasonable steps to notify the owner or person in charge of the property of such fact and of the driver's name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle the driver is driving. (B) Upon request and if available, exhibit any document issued as official evidence of a grant of driving privileges to the driver.(2) Moving a vehicle as provided in subsection (1)(a)(A) of this section does not affect any determination of fault or liability for the accident.
(3) The offense described in this section, failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, is a Class A misdemeanor and is applicable on any premises open to the public.
The portion of the law that applies to striking a parked and unattended car is 1(b), which requires that the driver either "locate and notify" the owner of the vehicle, giving contact information, or leave a note providing those details. Whether or not informing a dispatcher and permitting him to do so rather than stopping and doing it yourself, is a permitted substitute, I don't know. (Certainly it falls within the spirit of the law, but as far as the letter of the law goes, IANAL). There doesn't appear to be any exemption for transit operators, other professional motorists, etc. However, ORS 809.404 does say the following:
809.404 Disqualification from holding commercial driver license. (1) The Department of Transportation shall suspend a person’s commercial driver license or right to apply for a commercial driver license if the person is disqualified from holding a commercial driver license under this section. A person is entitled to administrative review under ORS 809.440 of a suspension under this section.
(2) A person is disqualified from holding a commercial driver license if the person has two or more of any of the following in any combination:
(a) A record of conviction for driving while under the influence of intoxicants under ORS 813.010 and the person was driving a motor vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the offense.
(b) A suspension of the person’s commercial driver license under ORS 813.410 for refusal to submit to a test under ORS 813.100 and the person was driving a motor vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the offense.
(c) A suspension of the person’s commercial driver license under ORS 813.410 because the person submitted to a breath or blood test and the person’s blood, as shown by the test, had 0.04 percent or more by weight of alcohol and the person was driving a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the offense.
(d) A record of conviction under ORS 811.700 or 811.705 of failure to perform the duties of a driver and the person was driving a motor vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the offense.
Given the consequences of hit-and-run for professional drivers, I would assume that all the i's are being dotted and all the t's crossed in his particular case--and that the procedure has been cleared with lawyers.
But to quote the epic poet Homer:
Update: Joseph Rose, who was apparently on scene and witnessed (and recorded) the incident, has video and commentary at the Hard Drive blog.