The Utah Transit Authority also known as UTA, acknowledged this past Wednesday, that too many accidents are occurring with its Trax and Frontrunner trains. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, UTA has launched a new safety campaign designed to educate the public about the dangers of trains.
Such a push for safety awareness is a long time coming. Already this year, there have been five fatalities involving TRAX trains and two with FrontRunner trains. Additionally, there have been five injuries out of eleven accidents involving TRAX with three injuries from four accidents on the FrontRunner trains. This recent rash in accident cases puts UTA out in front for having the most accidents for systems of its size, including systems in Denver, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Portland and Santa Clara, CA. These five other systems averaged 14.2 incidents per million passenger miles traveled, whereas the Utah UTA system was twice as high with 30.7 incidents. Fatalities were also twice as high when compared to those other systems.
Having screened and litigated cases against UTA, and keeping abreast of other incidents in the news involving UTA, it seems that UTA at times turns a blind eye to the negligent actions of its employees, including transit operators. UTA also seems very quick to blame the injured party for the accident happening, even when the facts of the case strongly suggest operator, system, or design error.
I’m of the opinion that forces within UTA that try and deflect blame away from UTA and its operators, has led to complacency in the way it views safety. Practically speaking, if UTA sees the majority of these accidents as having been caused by the injured parties, then UTA can continue to claim that its a victim of happenstance and that no changes are necessary to address safety lapses within its organization.
Every accident and incident reported, however, are opportunities that UTA has to make its transit system safer, so that like accidents don’t happen again. I hope that UTA really is serious about improving its safety record, because it definitely needs improving.
The opinions expressed above belong to Ron Kramer, a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah truck accident attorney.