Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) UTA police officers Steve Rowland and Aymee Race wait at station platform to hop on a TRAX train for a check to see if riders have purchased tickets.
UTA accidents down, crime rates flat amid growth
Transit » Fewer people attempt to evade fares, and safety improves amid more growth.
First Published Mar 26 2014 05:23 pm • Last Updated Mar 26 2014 10:46 pm

Ogden • Even while adding four new rail lines in just over a year, the Utah Transit Authority decreased overall accident rates in 2013, kept serious crime on its system in check and saw fewer people cheating on fares.

That’s according to an annual report on safety and law enforcement presented to UTA’s board Wednesday.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The official report comes after The Salt Lake Tribune last month did its own analysis of UTA accident data obtained from an open-records law request. The Tribune found that major incidents dropped last year — but still were higher than when UTA began a two-year campaign to improve safety.

The rate dropped from 1.99 accidents per million miles in 2012 to 1.66 in 2013, which still topped the 1.53 rate in 2011. The rate of serious injuries and fatalities (1.81 per million miles) was lower than in 2012 when it was 1.96.

UTA had five deaths and 44 serious injuries in 45 accidents last year.

On its TRAX lines, the new official report said the number of accidents serious enough to be reported to federal regulators decreased from 24 in 2012 to 18 last year — including two fatalities and 14 injuries, said Dave Goeres, UTA’s chief safety officer. The decline came as UTA opened new airport and Draper TRAX lines during the year.

"We continue to reduce the number of accidents and significantly reduce the rate of accidents [per passenger miles traveled] that we have on TRAX," Goeres said.

UTA’s Frontrunner commuter rail had higher accident rates last year, but still showed an improvement over two years ago. It had nine serious accidents in 2013, including three fatalities and one injury. "The injuries to passengers were zero on commuter rail," Goeres said.

Serious accidents included one with a bicyclist, two with people trespassing on rail lines, two with vehicles and four involving employees.

Overall, UTA bus-system accidents increased from 563 in 2012 to 607 in ’13 — but the number of accidents considered avoidable by UTA drivers dropped from 224 to 193. Thirty accidents were serious enough to be reported to federal regulators. No fatalities occurred, but 34 injuries did.


story continues below
story continues below

Goeres said calls to UTA police increased 20 percent to 4,609 last year, following the December 2012 opening of the Provo-to-Salt Lake City Frontrunner line and the startup of the new Sugar House Streetcar line.

However, he said crimes against people, such as assault or theft, dropped a bit from 75 to 72. Criminal arrests increased from 3,110 to 3,169.

UTA police found the rate of people attempting to evade fares dipped slightly last year — from 2.57 percent of those who were asked to provide valid fares to 2.35 percent. That means about one of every 50 passengers is attempting to ride without paying.

Goeres also told the board that UTA is complying with federal requirements to randomly test employees for drug or alcohol use.

Few positives were found. Out of 1,302 tests, nine were positive — a failure rate of 0.7 percent. Three tested positive for marijuana, two each for alcohol and cocaine, and one each were for amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Goeres said those who test positive are subject to discipline allowed by federal rules and agreements with unions. Some were immediately fired. Goeres said the testing helps "keep the traveling public and our operators safe."

He was hired in 2011 to improve safety after a highly publicized rash of fatal accidents — and disclosure that UTA’s five-year accident rates were twice as high as similarly sized transit agencies.

ldavidson@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.