July 23, 2009

S.F. Muni issues LRV collison update, safety steps

On Wednesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) released video from the platform cameras showing the accident that occurred at West Portal Station on Saturday, July 18, 2009. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators also completed their on-site work in San Francisco and turned the video to the SFMTA's control.

As the NTSB investigators departed San Francisco, SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. outlined the immediate steps the agency is taking to reinforce existing operational rules to ensure that the Muni system is safe, including:

  • Greater oversight by Central Control to ensure operators to not operate trains in manual mode
  • Hourly announcements to all operators reminding them it is a rule violation to cut-out or bypass any vehicle function or change operating modes without approval from Central Control
  • Issuing violations to any operator observed moving to manual mode without authorization.

The SFMTA said it is also evaluating additional safety improvements and will outline them publicly as they are implemented.

Additionally, the San Francisco Fire Department provided updated information on the number of people transported from the accident scene to San Francisco hospitals. As of Wednesday, 48 patients were reportedly transported from the scene. Of the 48, 13 people, including all four classified as requiring immediate transport, were taken to San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) and the four immediate cases (including Muni Operator Henry Gray from the striking train) were admitted to the hospital. 

According to SFGH, two people, including Gray, remain in the hospital, one in good condition and one in fair condition. The patient in good condition was being transferred to another hospital for further medical treatment.

The SFMTA also reported that no surveillance video from either light rail vehicle involved in the collision exists because the video system was not fully implemented on the entire light rail fleet during the vehicle procurement process. All video surveillance systems on Muni light rail vehicles are being inspected and will be activated and functional as soon as possible.

The NTSB continues to be the lead agency in the ongoing accident investigation.  The California Public Utilities Commission is working closely with the NTSB and the SFMTA on the investigation and is also expected to issue a report.

 

 

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