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Five of Nation’s Most Dangerous Railroad Crossings are in the Phoenix Area

How do you get around Phoenix? Do you walk, take a bus, or take your own personal car? Ever hop on the light rail for a quick trip? If you are like most residents, you probably have a primary mode of transportation but may use other forms on occasion. Even if this is the case, though, it is unlikely that you appreciate how interconnected these transit forms are to one another and how their actions can affect the safety of others.

Many people in Arizona drive on a daily basis. These motorists may focus on their safety on the roadways, at intersections, and at stop signs but they may give less thought to non-drivers. Simply put, people tend to focus on issues that affect them personally, and if a driver never takes a city bus, for example, the driver is likely to be less aware of safety issues surrounding bus passengers. This flawed logic holds true when it comes to train safety as well.

There may not be a ton of train traffic in Phoenix when compared to the rest of the nation but that which exists often crosses paths with vehicular, pedestrian, and motorcycle traffic at street-level crossings. Now, new data states that five of the nation’s 13 most dangerous railroad crossings are located right here in the Phoenix area.

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Light Rail along 19th Avenue Now Open, Ridership Increase Expected

If you do not like to drive your own car or do not own a vehicle yourself, you are fortunate enough to have options around you for public transit. City buses run many of the streets in Maricopa County and the light rail provides convenient rides in and around Phoenix. Now, those who rely upon public transit and those who use it on an occasional basis may find things a little more convenient as the newest stretch of the light rail opened on Saturday, lengthening the service area and providing greater access to many.

After more than three years of construction, the light rail line along 19th Avenue opened Saturday and will provide service to a 3.2 mile area between Montebello Avenue and Dunlap Avenue. Officials believe that approximately 5,000 additional rides will be taken every day on the light rail due to the expansion and that many businesses, schools, and community centers will be accessible because of the line.

Saturday’s activities included a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:00 a.m. before rides began officially at 10:00 a.m. Many who live in the area are happy that they not only have the ability to use the light rail but that the addition of three new stations would bring in others to their communities, supporting their businesses and helping the area thrive.

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Light Rail Strikes Car in Phoenix

Across the country, more than 1,000 people are injured and more than 300 killed every year in accidents at railroad crossings, according to the United States Department of Transportation. While the typical image of a train accident might look like a rural setting involving a set of tracks and an errant car, the reality of these incidents is far different. Collisions happen in urban, suburban, and rural settings and may involve one train, multiple trains, or even a combination of a train and another type of vehicle, like a car, truck, or bus.

Tragedy occurs when these accidents involve injuries or death and this harm may never be fixed. While the damage done by a train accident in areas like Phoenix cannot be undone, the victims of those incidents may be able to obtain financial compensation that would enable them to move forward from a crash and beyond the incident that affected them. From medical expenses to pain and suffering, the totality of the harm caused by a train crash can be extreme and can leave a victim in need of help. If you have been hurt, you may wish to speak with a personal injury lawyer to learn about your options and rights under Arizona law, including whether you have a valid claim for your injuries.
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Seven Injured in Phoenix Light Rail Accident

Travel by train may seem like a fading concept in the country, but in Phoenix, it is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the addition of the city’s Metro light rail system. For those who have lived in the Valley for some time, the light rail has been a staple since construction began in 2005. Service started in 2008 and has continued to expand in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa since that time. The light rail has become so popular that it was the nation’s 13th busiest light rail system in 2014.

The goal of the light rail is to provide easy means of affordable transit to thousands of riders along the rail’s route while decreasing traffic congestion in those areas. To date, many would consider the light rail successful at those overarching ideas and some in the Valley are anticipating the continued expansion of the system into new, convenient, and desirable areas.

Unfortunately, though, not everything associated with the light rail has been positive. Numerous train accidents have occurred involving light rail vehicles and some of those collisions have involved passenger cars and even pedestrians. Several of these incidents have caused injuries that have left victims in need of medical care and attention. As victims are often seriously hurt, they may not know how to proceed with the action needed to obtain the financial compensation they deserve.
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Light Rail Expanding in Phoenix

Numerous citizens and residents of the greater Phoenix area utilize some form of public transportation on occasion. Some even use public transportation exclusively so that they have no need for personal transit, like bicycling or driving a car. In recent years, Phoenix has responded to this demand by improving the public transit that previously existed as well as creating new options, the most visible of which has been the light rail which runs through portions of the city.

This train system has enabled residents and visitors alike to travel to places that previously were more difficult at an affordable price. Unfortunately, with this increase in rail traffic, some train accidents have occurred between the light rail and other vehicles, including passenger cars and trucks. Numerous injuries and several deaths have been linked to these collisions. When a crash is caused by the negligence or recklessness of a light rail employee or the city, the victims of that incident may be entitled to seek financial relief for their losses, including any medical and surgical bills incurred. A personal injury lawyer in the Valley may help you understand what options are available to you, including whether you have a valid claim for your damages.

The potential for light rail accidents is increasing as continued expansion work takes place on existing routes. Now, city officials in the transit department have confirmed that, thanks in part to a $1.6 million grant from the federal government, the light rail will expand from the downtown Phoenix area south to Baseline Road. The grant will cover approximately half of the anticipated costs and the city of Phoenix will be required to pay at least $1.6 million for the construction as well.

The newly announced expansion will cover approximately a five mile stretch and will potentially serve thousands of people on a regular basis who rely upon other forms of transit right now. Further expansions are taking place along the light rail and others are planned for the future, meaning that expansion efforts likely will take place until at least 2034.
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SUV Collides With Light Rail, Several Injured

The number of train versus vehicle collisions have increased in Phoenix in recent years since the creation of the light rail, which installed tracks in areas previously unknown to rail travel but now used by both the trains and vehicles. Most of the time, cars and the light rail can occupy the same streets harmoniously with trains receiving the right-of-way and with vehicles allowed to cross the tracks when train traffic is not present. However, collisions between these two types of travel do happen and when they occur, injuries almost always result.

Phoenix train accident lawyers understand that trains are large, heavy vehicles that need distance to stop or slow effectively, meaning that if a car crosses immediately in front of the head car, a train may not be able to avoid a collision. Similarly, if a train is speeding, fails to signal, or if warning lights and gates along roads malfunction, a collision with a car may occur that is due to no negligence on the part of the car’s driver.

Unfortunately a collision between an SUV and a light rail train took place on Wednesday in Phoenix at a street level crossing near Central and Roosevelt. Witnesses say that it appeared the driver of the SUV, described only as a 57-year-old adult, ran a red light and entered the crossing as the light rail approached. The train struck the SUV with force great enough to throw several train passengers forward, injuring two and sending them to the hospital for medical treatment. In addition to the SUV’s driver, a pregnant passenger was injured and was also transported for medical care with emergency personnel expecting all victims to survive.

Those at the scene agreed that the injuries, especially to those in the SUV, could have been much worse, particularly with a view of the significant damage done to the vehicle by the collision.

Anytime an accident results in injuries, Arizona law may allow the victims to bring a financial claim for their damages against those responsible for the collision, including a negligent driver or drivers, if they exist. These claims can seek financial compensation for any injuries incurred, any medical expenses believed to be incurred in the future, lost wages, and other damages forced upon the victim as a result of the collision.
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Light Rail Crash in Tempe Leaves Several Injured

Tempe police responded to a Thursday morning crash between a passenger car and a light rail train that left people inside the car and the train injured. The incident occurred near Apache Boulevard and Price Road just before noon.

Police and witnesses described a car driven by an elderly man and attempting an illegal u-turn as the cause of the crash. Though it is not clear the speed of either the car or the train at this time, police have stated that the car was pushed approximately 100 feet up the track after impact, suggesting that the train was traveling at a cruising speed before the crash.

Two people from the car were taken to area hospitals for treatment. A witness reported that the driver of the car was bleeding from his head and complaining of neck and back pain. The driver’s injuries were believed to be serious but everyone involved in the accident is expected to survive.

In addition to those in the car, several people on board the light rail suffered injuries. Some were treated at the scene by emergency medical personnel while others were transported to area hospitals. Officials believe that none on board the train suffered serious injuries and that the hospital visits were mostly precautionary.

Since the light rail first became operational, it has provided many in the Valley with a convenient and affordable means of transportation. Yet as with any form of transit, accidents still occur. The street level design of the light rail means that accidents with cars, trucks, or vans are capable and can be caused by the negligence of the driver of a passenger vehicle or the operator of a train.

When a train is involved, the damage can be extreme. A train is a large, heavy vehicle with a significant amount of momentum. When traveling at even a moderate speed, it can take a significant distance for brakes to slow or stop a train. An impact between a heavy train and a much lighter car almost always causes heavy damage to the car, increasing the risk of injuries to the car’s occupants.
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Arizona train accident – 2 border patrol agents killed

A freight train vs. SUV crash that occurred 85 miles southwest of Phoenix has claimed the lives of two border patrol agents as they were trying to capture a group of suspected illegal immigrants, according to Fox News. The collision occurred on May 12 in a rural area near Interstate 8 and the town of Gila Bend.

The agents were reportedly positioning themselves North of some other agents when their SUV entered a railroad crossing and was struck by a Union Pacific train. The train was moving westbound out of Phoenix at 62 mph when the accident occurred. The SUV was pushed approximately 1/2 mile down the tracks.

The railroad crossing where the accident occurred is reportedly marked, but it does not have railroad crossing arms. There has also been six previous accidents (including one fatality) at that railroad crossing going back to 1984. The crossing is privately owned.

Click here to read the story as reported by USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.