Metro light rail has been running for more than three years now. And just-released information points to some locations that get more crashes than others.
Since 2009, there have been 118 light rail accidents in arizona, mostly in the downtown Tempe and Phoenix areas - which makes sense since they're probably the busiest. But there's some other things we've uncovered that may make you think twice the next time you try and beat that train.
"With every incident it triggers us to think about what occurred, why it occurred, are there things we can be doing better," said Hilary Foose, spokeswoman for Valley Metro Light Rail. They have found out there are some things they can do - take First Avenue and Washington Street and Apache Road and Price Road, for example. These two intersections have seen the most crashes, with seven each since 2009.
"Those two areas are areas that are busy with traffic anyway," Foose said. She added they post PSAs and tweak traffic signals if they see a lot of crashes at one particular place. The numbers suggest it may be working; First Avenue and Washington Street saw five crashes in 2009, and none so far in 2012.
But the problem is that too many drivers are making illegal turns in front of the light rail. Pedestrians test their luck, too.
"People just jolting across, not only light rail the trackways itself but three lanes of oncoming automobile traffic," Foose said. 2010 saw two pedestrian accidents, and there's already been that many so far in 2012.
Foose said trains come every 12 minutes, so it's really not worth it to try and beat it.
"When you are sharing the road with a very large vehicle and it takes it a very long time to stop you have to be so much more mindful of the signals and being very aware," she said.
All the injuries in these crashes have been pretty minor, but one pedestrian accident did go to the hospital with some broken ribs. The scary thing we found, though, is since 2009, 22 drivers have bailed from the scene of a crash with light rail - that's almost 19 percent.
The best thing to always do when you are around the Light Rail area, is to make sure you are always aware of your sorroundings and never make bad choices in challengeing the Light Rail in anyway. Think smart and act smart.