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The anticipated start-up of the new light-rail system in the Hampton Roads, Virginia (VA) area in May 2011 is expected to cause a lot of changes in how travelers get back and forth. Depending on the number of people who take advantage of this form of mass transportation, traffic on some of the busier interstates, highways, and other roads may decrease.

Fewer cars on the road would automatically mean fewer accidents, right? Not so fast. A decrease in stop-and-go traffic and traffic jams may occur, but it won’t stop distracted driving or drunk driving. Mass transportation also presents its own unique traffic problems.

For example, people who use mass transit such as a light-way system must have a place to park their cars that they use to get to the station. Parking lots are being built which can accommodate as many as 290 cars. During morning and evening “rush hour," traffic entering and exiting these parking lots is likely to be extremely heavy.

A light-rail system requires an operator, just as a car does. And, just like a car driver, a light-rail system driver can also become distracted and potentially hit a pedestrian, car, or another train. We hope this never happens, but the risk is there.

But not all accidents involving a light-rail system involve vehicles. Falls can occur when passengers are boarding or exiting from the light-rail cars, especially during wet or icy weather. These can sometimes cause serious personal injury like a broken wrist, torn ACL/MCL in the knee, or a head injury.

Again, we hope that none of these incidents come to pass, but where there are cars, trains, and people, there is the risk of serious injury from an accident.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.


One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Ray Denonville

    I have photographed hundreds of Light Rail Trains running red lights at every signalized intersection;

    yet when an accident occurs whoever is killed or injured by the Light Rail Train is faulted for the accident.

    When an accident occurs, the authorities determine that the traffic lights are functioning properly and that the train is ART (Automated Rapid Transit)

    The Light Rail Train is not ART, it is con-ART, designed, built and operated by con-artists.

    I have posted some of my photographs online.

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