By: Daniel Wightkin
CHICAGO, IL—Shedding light on a shocking lapse in safety procedures, a recent study published on Thursday by the University of Chicago found that 93% of CTA bus drivers are completely unprepared for a scenario similar to the one depicted in the 1994 blockbuster Speed. “In our tests, we found that a staggering 9/10 drivers are unable to handle the high octane situation of having their vehicle rigged with a bomb which is set to explode if they ever drop below 50 mph,” said lead researcher Jessica Pope, noting that even the most experienced of CTA drivers struggled to make it more than a few miles down Lake Shore Drive before de-accelerating below the threshold and setting off the bomb. “Furthermore, among drivers that did manage to maintain the correct velocity, the majority were still unable to prevent detonation as they could not successfully jump their bus over a fifty foot gap in the freeway.”
The blind study was conducted on every bus route over the course of two months. The impetus for the study reportedly came after a University of Chicago movie night, where the research team realized that there have been no accounts of the Chicago Transit Authority successfully handling a fantastical, nearly unbelievable, hostage situation.
“Whether it was the pressure of having an entire bus full of passengers lives in their hands, or simply a lack of training, the fact remains that only 7% of the bus operators were able to survive long enough to unload the passengers safely to an adjacent bus matching speed with it,” continued Pope, adding that drivers still blew up after variables were modified to make the Speed scenario easier, such as reducing the minimum speed to 35 miles per hour. “Even with the addition of a no nonsense police officer to provide instructions and maintain order, we discovered that drivers failed at the exact same rate as they did before, leading us to believe that the CTA provides little guidance for dealing with action thriller plots.”
Pope concluded by stating this lack of preparation was prevalent across all vehicle types, citing a concurrent study that found that 96% of Chicago Boat Tour operators were unable to handle having their ships programed to ram into a cruise ship as depicted in the 1997 sequel Speed 2: Cruise Control.