In the age of texting-while-walking, it should come as no surprise that pedestrians have forgotten how to look twice for cars before crossing the road. Usually, however, their multiple senses will tell them that a car is approaching, causing them to jump back in time to avoid a pedestrian-and-car accident. As cars change, however, so do our abilities to perceive them.
A ferry accident in New York City today injured nearly 60 passengers, at least two critically. According to the New York Fire Department, the ferry was going approximately 15 mph when it ran into a loading barge near a pier.
Head-on motor vehicle accidents number among some of the most deadly collisions on American roadways. This is especially true when the motor vehicle accident occurs on a state route or highway where drivers are often traveling at a high rate of speed. One recent California head-on collision claimed the life of a 53-year-old Oceanside mother and sent several of her family members to the hospital.
Yesterday, three people were injured at Knott's Berry Farm when a wheel fell off a stagecoach, causing it to tip. The accident could have been much worse -- fourteen people were riding the stagecoach when the ride malfunctioned.
In what might have been a public safety nightmare, a commuter train and Metro bus collided in downtown Los Angeles at the end of August. There were approximately 50 passengers on the Metro bus at the time of the collision, and 32 individuals were taken to area hospitals with injuries after the potentially serious accident. It doesn't appear that any passengers on the train were injured.
A Los Angeles motorcycle officer was injured earlier this month in a hit-and-run accident that threw him from his motorcycle into the roadway. He was headed to his second job at the Hollywood Bowl (where he directs traffic) when a dark colored car side-swiped his motorcycle and sent him flying toward the center divider. The vehicle that struck him did not remain on the scene of the motorcycle accident.
Four years ago, a deadly Los Angeles train accident devastated many California families. The train had failed to stop at a red signal light and slammed into a freight train, leaving 25 people dead and dozens of other individuals with serious injuries. A fund to compensate the victims and their families was established in 2011, but now many of them feel this compensation was inadequate.
California drivers probably don't think about the risks involved with driving across train tracks. We don't hear about train accidents often, and we assume that there will be warning lights and gates to tell us when a train is approaching. With forces as strong as freight trains crossing roadways, however, it is important that both trains and automobiles take care to operate safely in order to avoid a serious accident. Unfortunately, these accidents are not always avoidable.
California is in the midst of a period of slight decline in motorcycle fatalities, as the number of deaths dropped 37 percent between 2009 and 2010. Compared to the 175 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities from 1998 to 2008, this change may be comforting to many California drivers, whether motorcyclists or otherwise. However, there is still more to be done to further prevent these devastating motorcycle accident fatalities.
California drivers are likely aware of how devastating a crash between a train and an automobile can be. Trains are huge forces that can cause serious injuries and even death when involved in collisions. Unfortunately, not all accidents of this type can be avoided.