November 20, 2003
Wait, wait, don't tell me...

Look at the following clip from today's Chron and see if you can pass the pop quiz at the end:

A Metro light rail car and a [vehicle] collided downtown during the train's test run Wednesday night. Police said it was the first accident involving the city's new light rail system.

The accident occurred about 8:30 p.m. when the driver of the [vehicle] turned in front of the train at Main and Gray, Metro police said.

"The lady in the [vehicle], she made an illegal left turn," Metro police Sgt. Antonio Ford said. "She cut right in front of the train."

Ready for the quiz? OK, now, what kind of vehicle was the lady driving? The answer is below the More link.

The headline says it all: "SUV, light-rail car collide during train's test run". Of COURSE it was an SUV! And I'll bet the idiot driver was on a cell phone at the time!

Now then. If you want to draw any conclusions about the relative safety of light rail, you'll force me to look into statistics about highway accidents and fatalities here in Houston, especially during road construction. So let's not go there, shall we?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 20, 2003 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

We all know Jeep drivers are going to hell.

Nevertheless, this is going to be an ongoing problem along the trolley corridor, because illegal left turns are a problem all over the city, and the trolleys just add to the confusion for bad drivers.

Posted by: kevin whited on November 20, 2003 8:56 AM

It was KPRC's health reporter, because as we all know it's not a health hazard to make illegal left turns into oncoming trains.

Think I should make the Metro Light Rail Dead Pool public?

Posted by: Laurence Simon on November 20, 2003 9:18 AM

Jeep drivers are not all going to hell, Kevin. There's just a high correlation.

I'm gonna take a conservative stance as opposed to Kevin's liberal "let it all hang out" view: I say the problem is all those folks making illegal left turns. Let them obey the law!


Posted by: Ginger on November 20, 2003 9:32 AM

We all know Jeep drivers are going to hell.

Noooo! and I thought I had enough trouble with them in this world... you mean I have to face them there, too?

I agree that the first such accident is news, and I'll try to restrain myself from remarking on news reporters who create news... oops, I didn't restrain myself. I will be very interested to see what gets reported in future motor vehicle - light rail accidents. Does the local media report every accident in which an (expletive deleted) stupid driver tries to beat out a freight train at a crossing? Answer: typically only if there is a death involved... or if the resulting mess is so visually riveting that Fox just has to show it to you.

Face it: sometimes, when things move, things collide. That's not ever going to change. Metro rail is no exception. I hope our news sources can keep some perspective about this.

Posted by: Steve Bates on November 20, 2003 11:25 AM