A woman and a teen were seriously injured early last month when the car they were driving was struck by a TRAX train near 700 South and West Temple in downtown Salt Lake City. Police at first feared that the crash might prove fatal to at least one of the victims, but their status was upgraded after they reached the hospital. There’s been no further public news on their condition, but we hope that they’re making a speedy recovery.
The May 10 crash happened just before 5:00 p.m. and snarled traffic in that part of the city. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) issued an alert telling drivers to avoid the area, while the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) set up buses to route around the disabled train. At the same time, most trains in the area were affected by a power problem (it’s not clear if that was related to the crash).
The train accident is still under investigation and no fault has been assigned, but from what’s been reported, it appears that the crash may have been avoidable. Media coverage suggests that the car was going north on Temple when it went through the intersection and into the path of an eastbound train.
If that’s true, it wouldn’t be very surprising. Many collisions with trains take place because drivers ignore safety barriers. In UTA’s case, for instance, repair crews frequently have to deal with broken crossing gates caused by inattentive, impatient, or careless drivers. In 2016, UTA had to fix nearly one gate per day—329 total—costing the system more than $320,000.
The crossing where this accident happened has no gates, only signals, but drivers should always avoid getting into a train’s path.
This isn’t the first local passenger train problem involving a car this year. In March, a hit-and-run driver took down a pole and overhead wires, which started a fire at a TRAX station near University of Utah Hospital. On a single bad day in January, a pedestrian was struck by a train during a snowstorm and later died.
In a separate incident, a Frontrunner train smashed through a FedEx trailer at a road crossing. A UTA employee was later found to have improperly disabled the safety warnings at that crossing while making repairs. It was only due to luck that no one was seriously injured or killed when the train came through the crossing as traffic continued to move in both directions.
Accidents on public transportation can have many causes and many victims. A driver might run a signal and start a crash that derails a train, or a bus driver might lose control and crash the vehicle. It might even be that a procedural, maintenance, or training error is to blame. Those injured might be on a train or bus, or they might be in a car that is struck by one of those vehicles. The victims might simply have been standing on a platform waiting to board when an accident happened.
To successfully navigate the many issues involved, turn to a firm with the right experience in public transportation accident law. At Craig Swapp & Associates, we offer all clients a free consultation to discuss each case. Contact us today at 1-800-404-9000 or use the form below. For quick answers to some of your questions, launch the LiveChat feature from any page of this website.