The Metro Blue Line, that runs 22 miles from downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach, has reported 22 train accidents and six (6) fatalities so far during 2012. Many are caused by collisions with cars, trucks and other motor vehicles.
The Blue Line is reported by the Los Angeles Times to be one of the busiest light rail lines in the United States and, unfortunately, is on pace to have more fatalities than any other year in its 22 year history. This statistic is even more significant given the fact that the Blue Line has a history of numerous accidents with cars, causing injuries and fatalities.
The Blue Line opened as Los Angeles County’s first light rail line in 1990. It currently has 26 million riders per year. It earned the undesired reputation in 1999 as California’s deadliest rail transit line when ten (10) people were reported killed and 40 others reported injured in 50 MTA Blue Line accidents that occurred during 1999. Most of these accidents involved collisions at street crossings with cars and other motor vehicles.
Although the Los Angeles County Metro Blue Line averaged almost 51 accidents annually during its first 12 years, since then its number of accidents has dropped to about 28 per year. During this time, the Metro took many steps to improve safety, including installing photo enforcement cameras at street crossings to deter drivers from attempting to race across intersections to beat passing trains. Metro officials claim such safety measures directly contributed to decreasing the number of MTA accidents each year.
Nevertheless, for some unknown reason or reasons, during this past year MTA Blue Line accidents are significantly up. Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles County Supervisor and member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), reportedly wrote, “If numbers generated in the first half of the year are any indication, by year’s end there could be more fatalities and twice as many suicides than any other year in the history of the rail line. Suicides alone account for a major portion of the increase in overall accidents.” Supervisor Yaroslavsky added, “No other line that we operate, anywhere … has this kind of fatality statistics…. Frankly I think it’s long past time to take a look at what’s going on.” Such comments by a county supervisor and LACMTA board member are quite significant and hopefully will draw the needed remedial action.
Clearly, the LACMTA must take better measures to protect both the riders on the Metro and also members of the public, whether in cars, on bicycles or walking as pedestrians, from being injured or even killed in train accidents. Such measures could include better training and supervision of its drivers and better mirrors, monitors and other warning devices for use by its drivers. If you have ANY other suggestions, please share them with both us and the LACMTA.
Our train accident lawyers have handled accident injury and wrongful death claims resulting from negligent or other unsafe and dangerous conditions on the LACMTA Metro system, including one involving a leg amputation. Should you or anyone you care about suffer any train accident injury please let us know as soon as possible so we may assist you in reporting it to the proper Metro authorities to prevent other similar injuries to other innocent members of the public and also to assist you, if needed, with obtaining proper medical care and monetary recovery for your injuries and train accident damages.
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