Throughout Phoenix, AZ the mass transit system is changing. In most parts of the Phoenix Valley, this means embracing faster transportation in the form of light rail cars. These special types of train tracks currently run from Dunlap Avenue and 19th Avenue all the way into the heart of Mesa, AZ, ending at Main Street and Mesa Drive. What does this mean for local drivers? The lawyers at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC are watching out for your safety with information about mass transit accidents so you can stay safe on the roads all year long.
What causes mass transit accidents?
Light rail intersections can be confusing for both local residents and out of state drivers. These specific types of train tracks cut into Central and Downtown Phoenix which make that area a breeding ground for light rail accidents.
Driver confusion is not the only cause of light rail accidents. Light signal failures and other errors can be very dangerous, especially when a train car is in operation. They can operate up to 55 miles per hour but have a speed limit of 35 PMH while en route on city streets. At that speed, the force alone against a single vehicle will have devastating results, if not fatal.
In rare, but not impossible, cases, train operator negligence can be to blame for light rail accidents. Reasons related to negligence can include the following:
- Misreading or ignoring light signals
- Drowsy or under the influence
- Improper slowing or reaction to increased traffic
How many light rail or mass transits occur in Phoenix AZ?
Because mass transit vehicles are larger than a standard car, truck, SUV, or van, accidents are inevitable. This is not due to size alone or driver operation but is typically attributed to other circumstances. For instance, mass transit operators have different rules on the roadways, such as loading/unloading zones. Many accidents happen in these areas because not all drivers are patient enough to accommodate them.
In fact, the first light rail accident with Phoenix-area passengers aboard occurred in late December 2008, just four days after the train car system opened to the public. It was a hit and run accident by a truck driver.
To broaden these numbers, there were nearly 12,000 accidents with trucks and buses in 2016, according to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts Report with 2016 data. There were also more than 10,600 accidents with other types of vehicles. The light rail fits into this category.
How to handle filing a personal injury claim involving a mass transit bus or light rail train
Skousen, Gulbrandsen, & Patience, PLC is here for victims as well as the loved ones of those who have been injured or killed by a light rail accident in Phoenix, AZ. It’s important you consult and choose a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in practicing state injury law because there are more stringent statutes for these cases.
The procedures for handling light rail accident cases are different than those involving other vehicles because mass transit is a city entity. While light rail operators, lighting systems, and other city officials can all be individually responsible for the accident, the filing and prosecution processes of filing a personal injury claim are far more complex. Depending on the nature of your case, your personal injury attorney may even push to do both a filing with the city and against the responsible party.
Light rail accidents will continue to happen as the city’s newest mass transit system continues to grow. As a local driver, it is your responsibility to adhere to all traffic laws and provide adequate reaction time for any signals. Even the best defensive drivers can fall victim to a vehicle accident beyond their control.
The legal professionals at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC are available to protect injured victims in mass transit accidents. Our personal injury law firm has practiced Arizona injury law for more than 50 years and we know how to fight for your rights. Schedule your free initial consultation with our lawyers today!