Letter to the Editor: Safety is the Utah Transit Authority’s Top Priority

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Letter to the Editor: Safety is the Utah Transit Authority’s Top Priority

By The Daily

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In response to a recent editorial by Connor Richards about UTA rail safety, let me assure the traveling public that safety is our top priority at UTA. We will continue to monitor and improve our system. Please help us by behaving safely near trains.

In his piece, Richards points to some recent train collisions involving people crossing UTA rail lines, including a particularly sad collision where a pregnant woman was killed when the driver of the car she was riding in ignored the flashing red lights, drove around the median and around the deployed traffic arms into the path of a train.

Additionally, regarding fatalities on rail lines, Mr. Richards inaccurately states “there have been at least five already this year.” In fact, there have been two non-intentional deaths this year and they both were caused by drivers ignoring traffic laws.

Every accident, particularly when life is lost, is a tragedy that affects many people, including those who are injured or killed, their families, the UTA operators and staff, and emergency responders. UTA seeks to prevent accidents by creating a strong culture of safety. We strive to not only meet but to exceed required safety design and features. We continue to pro-actively identify areas to increase safety, and we conduct thorough investigations of accidents to see if something can be done to make improvements. 

Most accidents involving UTA trains are the result of motorists or pedestrians not obeying the laws and disregarding traffic signals and signage. We will continue to improve safety by making sure UTA safety and warning systems are state of the art, and by educating the public through many means, including Operation Lifesaver classes, public hearings, media campaigns, and reporting to the news media. Please help us prevent additional accidents by obeying traffic rules and behaving safely around UTA trains. You can also help UTA improve by reporting safety issues to (801) 287-EYES.

At UTA, safety is our number one priority, but we need your help. UTA is committed to continually improving its system. Please join us in making safe decisions when driving or walking near railroad tracks, as we all share in the responsibility of being safe.

Dave Goeres, PE, CSSD 

Chief Safety and Security Officer

Utah Transit Authority