Skip to comments.Oddball facts about Metro trains and their first 25 accidents
Posted on 03/30/2004 6:01:05 AM PST by Flyer
Police reports for the first 25 vehicle accidents involving the Metro light rail reveal only one fact for certain: Aries are the safest drivers.
The collisions began Nov. 19 although the light-rail system didn't open to the public until Jan. 1. The list keeps growing -- it hit 31 Monday -- but this roundup focuses on the 25 pioneers, a diverse group.
Officers don't ask for drivers' horoscope signs, but a check of birth dates reveals no Aries among the crashers. But it seems Geminis like to drive on the wild side.
There are two Marys and a Maria in the stack of police reports. Also, contrary to water-cooler speculation, there's only one guy with the middle name Wayne. But there's also one named Dwayne, and everyone knows that a Dwayne is worth five Waynes.
A couple of errant drivers pulled out of driveways into the trains and someone ran a red light, but most of the crashes were due to illegal left turns. Repeat: illegal left turns.
Metro spokesman Ken Connaughton definitely sees a pattern: "People aren't paying attention."
Here's a look at the numbers.
What's your sign?
How many thought there would be more women than men?
White guys are in the majority.
White males (13)
White females (6)
Black females (2)
Black male (1)
Asian female (1)
Asian male (1)
Hispanic male (1)
Most of the wreckers were ages 32 to 59, but a septuagenarian from Angleton managed to find the side of a rail car. Note: no reckless teenagers!
It's probably best to avoid the rail line at certain times. Time of accidents:
8:20-9:35 a.m. (3)
10:17 a.m.-10:38 a.m. (5)
11:50 a.m.-1:47 p.m. (9)
2:10-4:30 p.m. (5)
6:18-7:47 p.m. (3)
Avoid Main Street on Fridays. The light rail is particularly attractive to cars just before the weekend. Crashes by day:
Sixteen drivers were from Houston. Nine towns had one offender each. No Groesbeck jokes, please.
A Channel 2 reporter started the crash parade in November. One woman said she had no occupation. Driver job descriptions:
Retiree (2 )
It's a bland parade of vehicles, especially if you lump the first three colors together.
A guy who said he was a manager probably said "darn" when he crashed his 2004 brown Ford F-150. The crumpled vehicles:
1981 Chevrolet truck
1984 Chevrolet Suburban
1988 Ford Crown Victoria
1989 Dodge Dynasty
1992 GMC pickup
1992 Toyota Previa
1996 Toyota 4Runner
1997 Mercury Sable station wagon
1997 Nissan pickup
1997 Toyota Land Cruiser
1998 Dodge Stratus
1999 Jeep Cherokee
1999 GMC C7500 utility van
1999 Toyota Sienna
2000 Chevrolet Astro van
2000 Chevrolet Venture van
2000 Ford Explorer
2001 Pontiac Grand Prix
2002 Acura RSX
2002 Mercury Sable
2002 Toyota Camry
2003 Dodge Durango
2003 BMW 330i
2004 Ford F-150 pickup
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My cup runneth over, verily. ;-)
As of this morning at 8:15. As fast as they are coming, we need to be more time specific.
I'm also chuckling at the little arguments on the Locale page about where the majority of the accidents have taken place.
I've got better advice that the Houston Commiecal will never print: "AVOID DOWNTOWN ALTOGETHER - Metrorail is a boondoggle and a quagmire".
If any of this data meant ANYTHING, the writer would predict in print the nature of the next accident "sex/race of driver, day/time, type of vehicle, etc.).
It just shows that Metro's choice of route was flawed, along with all their other mistakes (i.e. street level, way too quiet, should be painted black and yellow angled stripes, like a "DANGER" sign, etc.). I challenge anyone to pick 25 somehow geographically related accidents that occurred anywhere in Houston, except near the airports, where more than a third involved out-of-towners.
They put the Wham-Bam-Tram right through the middle of two of the areas of town that are a magnet for out-of-towners - the Medical Center and the Museum District. For that reason, a disproportionately high number of people driving in the area are not familiar with the area and are busy looking for street signs and landmarks, which naturally detracts from their safety observations, like watching out for a 49 ton train that shouldn't have been there in the first place.
By the time all of the lawsuits are over, the primary fault will be laid clearly at the feet of the Metro officials and designers, who came up with the insane design and route for the Wham-Bam-Tram. I expect that when all is said and done, they will all have to go into the federal WITSEC program (witness protection).
Education is NOT the answer. Maybe better breaks on the railtrains so that they can stop BEFORE an accident occurs.
Maybe sorta silver - a chrome bumper?