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Blue Line Train Accident Kills Another. Reminders How To Be Safe.


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3/23/2010
James E. Ballidis
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Several weeks ago, a southbound Metro Blue Line train hit and killed an elderly woman. Although this accident is still under investigation, it is unclear what happened because the woman was in a crosswalk and in an area where there were crossing gates. Moreover, this is just one in a long list of accidents on this train route that unfortunately has a higher-than-normal rate of incidence.

The Blue Line is well-known for its high rate of accidents and is considered to be the most dangerous of the entire light rail trains in Los Angeles, and in fact, the whole country. Since 1990, over 100 pedestrians and motorists and been killed at crossings and more than 800 injuries have occurred.

The Blue Line runs a 22 mile elevated and subway route between Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles. It is the busiest of all the trains in the city, with an average of 70,000 daily passengers.  A recent study by Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc was requested by the MTA to identify problem areas and find key factors that were contributing to this high accident rate. One of the main problem areas that were found was a densely populated area with lots pedestrians and vehicles crossing the tracks. Additionally it is a varied socio-economic community with language challenges to public educations campaigns as well as slow moving trains that produce more aggressive, risk-taking behaviors.

Last month in a joint effort focused on pedestrian safety, the Los Angeles Police and Sheriff’s Department‘s cited over 330 violators in a four hour period. Most violations were pedestrians jaywalking, illegal turns and running red lights. Also, over thirty warnings were given to drivers who tried to out run trains. In addition to more police presence, the MTA has also installed more crossing gates and cameras to provide extra security.
The following are some safety tips if you are driving or walking near light rail trains:

While driving:
·    Never stop or park your car on light rail tracks.
·    Never race a train through an intersection
·    Light rail trains are quiet. Look for flashing headlights and listen for warning bells and always expect a train if you’re crossing a track.
·    Look both ways before crossing the tracks
·    Remember: Trains can’t stop as quickly as you can.
While walking:
·    Remind your kids to stop, look and listen.
·    Remember that jaywalking is illegal and dangerous.
·    Cross only at crosswalks
·    Be alert when near the tracks. Light rail is extremely quiet. Look for flashing headlights.
·    Stand behind the warning rails until the train passes or comes to a complete stop.
 
Lastly if you ride a motorcycle or bicycles, always cross the track at a 90 degree angle.

Category: Car Accidents


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