Category Archives: Light Rail Picture

Light Rail Picture

The Phoenix metro region’s new $1.4 billion light rail system connecting Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa is on track to surpass projected the ridership and revenue levels officials were projecting when the routes opened on December 27, 2008. That doesn’t mean, however, that the new route hasn’t had some problems. Accidents involving the light rail trains and auto drivers using the same roads are among the most common problems.

Several train-auto collisions have occurred in the seven months since the line has been open, leading to injuries among car drivers and their passengers, as well as light rail riders. The reasons for the collisions vary, but drivers involved in accidents and near-misses often complain that they are simply not accustomed to watching for trains on roads which have been safely used by cars, bikers and pedestrians for years.

The safety issues are predominantly due to cars proceeding through intersections against red lights or turn arrows. The traffic lights have been synced at intersections along the light rail route. For many drivers and local residents though, the new tracks and mechanisms along the road make driving in congested areas more confusing and the longer waits at intersections more frustrating.

Police reports indicate, however, that car drivers aren’t always primarily at fault for accidents involving light rail. Some of the liability issues that are expected to come under legal scrutiny by personal injury lawyers include:

Improper procedures by train operators Defective safety equipment and systems Unclear intersection markings and signage

In addition to auto, bike and pedestrian accidents, ticketed riders on the railway line have also been injured while riding and while waiting at passenger platforms. Quick stops, insufficient security and injuries suffered while loading or unloading place Metro light rail in the legal spotlight. As the number of accidents increase along with railway ridership, experienced personal injury litigation attorneys throughout the Phoenix area are bracing for the courts to establish a threshold for significant monetary settlements and jury awards.

By Martin J. Solomon

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