MUNI Accidents Never Seem to Stop
Three people were hospitalized on Friday, August 3 rd, when a car got crushed between a San Francisco Municipal Railway electric bus and an antique streetcar on Market Street. It occurred approximately 12:25 PM near First Street. A woman with a child, driving a small white car, had come to a legal stop behind a MUNI electric bus when a streetcar rammed her car from behind. The impact was hard enough to drive the car forward under the rear end of the electric bus, and pinning the occupants inside. A remarkably similar accident occurred on August 3, 2009, at Castro and Market Streets, when an SUV was similarly slammed from behind by an antique street car into the rear end of another antique streetcar. In that accident, news reports indicated that MUNI has a rule requiring streetcars to maintain a 250 foot distance between cars, which permits more than enough stopping distance for these older-model trains that lack many of the modern electronic-supported braking capabilities found on newer cars.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but early information released by MUNI states the streetcar operator appears to have pulled the emergency brake on the antique vehicle just before striking the car.
We Represent Victims In Bus Accidents
The Cartwright Law Firm was subsequently contacted by the victim driver for representation. Further investigation by the law firm indicates the car was legally in the lane, and had come to a legal stop behind the bus. The configuration of the lanes and MUNI platform at that location requires thru traffic to be in the left lane, as the right lane is a forced right turn.
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It is not clear whether MUNI interviewed other witnesses. The Cartwright Law Firm is conducting its own extensive investigation, and has already located and contacted additional witnesses. Additionally, the firm has located a surveillance video that show the accident, and hopes to use this video to identify additional witnesses. The video clearly shows that the streetcar had more than enough time and distance in which to brake safely, and shows the car as having fully stopped before the impact by the streetcar.
Riders Deserve Better Public Transit
Given the number of recent accidents involving MUNI buses, streetcars, and light-rail vehicles, public concerns about MUNI’s training and maintenance practices have mounted in recent months. Other recent revelations pointing to the issue of escalator problems, and that MUNI is short sufficient drivers to such an extent they are canceling nearly 650 trips per day, and the strains on the entire system are contributing to driver fatigue, poor training, and even poorer management oversight.
Transit riders, and the driving public, deserve better public transit oversight. Public transit vehicles are already afforded greater leeway on public streets, and operator’s unions have among the best pay and compensation packages in the public sector. They are supported not merely by rider’s fares, but by public taxes, as well, and therefore have a responsibility to use those funds in a manner that benefits both the riding and the non-riding public. The Cartwright Law Firm has consistently worked to bring these deficiencies into the public eye while representing clients harmed by these shortcomings.