Pedestrian fatality, West Jordan, UT
June 2011: Light rail train strikes pedestrian on track in West Jordan, UT. A 15-year-old girl died.
At 2:38 PM MDT, June 8, 2011, a westbound light rail train that was being operated by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), struck and fatally injured a pedestrian at the 3200 West 8600 South highway-rail grade crossing, in West Jordan, UT. The speed of the light rail vehicle (LRV) was estimated at between 41 and 45 mph at impact. Train 53 was operating on UTA’s Mid-Jordan line, which was in pre-revenue testing and was not carrying passengers. the placement of a sound wall and power pole close to the sidewalk and the field side of the inside track made it difficult for pedestrians to view oncoming westbound traffic. The Deseret News reported: “According to witnesses at the scene, Casper and another girl crossed under the traffic safety arms and warning lights and attempted to cross the tracks. The girls apparently did not realize that two trains were traveling in the area within seconds of each other, going in opposite directions. After the first train had passed, the two girls began crossing the tracks unaware of the second train. The second girl stepped off the tracks in time to avoid the second train.”
The FRA report noted the probable cause of the accident was that the pedestrians failed to heed the active grade crossing warning devices for motor vehicles, and to yield the right of way to the oncoming train. The report also mentioned UTA’s failure to address line of sight issues and to install pedestrian warning devices in accordance with its own design plans before starting pre-revenue testing contributed to the accident.