Distraction and deliberate acts to ignore the systems in place to keep you safe continue to be the top two reasons for incidents near our light rail system. In the last two weeks, on two separate occasions, motorists have made illegal turns in front of an oncoming train. Fortunately, the drivers avoided injury but vehicles did not fare so well and it resulted in service interruptions for customers.
The fact is ... you can’t beat a train!
It sounds simple. It sounds like common sense. However, our light rail operators are still seeing drivers deliberately ignoring safety precautions or driving while distracted. The most common car versus light rail incidents occur when drivers make an illegal left-hand turn in front of the train when it has the green light. Please put down your phones when driving, and always keep an eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists around our transit system.
VTA rail operators go through extensive safety training to operate their vehicles, but these vehicles weigh 50 tons and cannot stop on a dime. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and yes drivers, must remain aware that they share the roads with these massive trains as light rail tracks are not separated from roadways.
And when crossing the tracks, never ever ignore safety precautions in place. Always look BOTH ways, even after one train has passed. There is typically another train coming from the other direction, hence the reason crossing arms and gates remain down.
The extra seconds you might save by taking the risk of beating a train are simply not worth it. Don't press your luck. The train will win.