This morning’s crash between a Metro light rail car and Valley Metro bus appears to have been the most serious crash yet. Early reports say that 8 people were injured in the crash at 1st Avenue and Washington.
The crash happened shortly after 6:30 this morning and channel 3 was quick to put out a video update of the crash. After that, it seems like just about every news organization was there to cover the story.
It is being reported that this is the 21st accident involving our 20 mile light rail system and, so far, there has not been a light rail operator cited for the crashes. One Republic reporter wrote today that, “Metro spokeswoman Marty McNeil said video footage indicated the train had a vertical white bar, signifying it was clear to travel through the intersection. The same footage showed the bus driver had a red turn arrow but ignored it, McNeil said.”
Minor damage was reported by a passenger who said he felt the collision but it didn’t seem too dramatic. A brief video showing the damage was also posted on the azcentral web site. Other reports indicate some of the injuries may have been more serious.
Once again, it appears that people need to pay closer attention when driving near a light rail vehicle. Back in March of this year, Metro CEO Rick Simonetta responded to an article in the paper questioning the safety of our system which drew comparisons to Houstonâ€™s early days of their light rail system, which was widely criticized for a large number of accidents. At 7.5 miles of track, Houston had 17 accidents in their first two months of operation compared to 10 in Phoenix during the same time. Many of the changes that Houston implemented, Metro was able to use in designing our system. Safety and awareness campaigns certainly play a large role in helping to keep the number of accidents to a minimum. While they make the news almost every time they occur, accidents are gonna be around as long as we all are.
So, stay safe, pay attention and watch out for those really big things driving in a dedicated roadway.
Tyler Hurst says
I don’t think the light rail stop ever have to stop at intersections. What happened to predictive light sensors?
Chuck Reynolds says
retards… What is so hard about NOT hitting a super slow loud dinging train? I’m afraid it only proves that Az drivers suck haha
David SB says
Traffic signals can give priority to light rail, but they can’t make trains immune from red lights. Trains usually encounter fewer reds than cars, but they still encounter some. Regardless, the issue here was that the bus may have violated a red arrow prohibiting a right turn. It’s amazing how many people think, incorrectly, that right-on-red applies with a red arrow specifically prohibiting a turn. That’s how most train vs. car (or bus) accidents happen — someone makes an illegal turn and is struck by a train approaching from behind them.
Tyler, I think they still have some work to do in that area. 🙂
Chuck, I’m not sure if you noticed the link above where it says “driving near a light rail vehicle” but I have a feeling you would like the video in that post. 🙂
David, once again, you make an excellent point. Paying attention goes a long way. 🙂