Florida passenger train line kills 5th person in a month

Jan 4, 2022, 11:11 AM | Updated: 11:29 am

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A Brightline higher-speed train fatally struck a pedestrian who walked into its path Tuesday, the fifth death involving the railroad since it recently resumed operations after being shutdown because of the pandemic.

Boynton Beach police said the pedestrian was struck about 7:50 a.m. Spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said no further details were immediately available.

The recent deaths have all occurred in the last month, continuing a trend that shows Brightline to have the worst fatality rate among the country’s approximately 800 railroads since it began test runs in mid-2017, according to an Associated Press analysis of Federal Railroad Administration data.

None of the 52 earlier deaths involving Brightline have been blamed on its equipment or crews. Investigations showed most victims were either suicidal, intoxicated, mentally ill or had gone around barriers at an intersection in an attempt to beat the trains, which travel up to 79 mph (128 kph) through densely populated areas between Miami and West Palm Beach.

Brightline officials did not immediately return a call and email Tuesday seeking comment. After a recent accident, the privately owned railroad issued a statement saying, “safety is a topic that we will not stop talking about and we are asking the community, law enforcement, elected officials and members of the media to use their platforms and help amplify a consistent safety message: stay off the tracks and obey all warning signs.”

Brightline has installed infrared detectors that will warn engineers if anyone is lurking near the tracks so they can slow down or stop. The company has added more fencing and landscaping to make track access more difficult and is also installing red-light cameras at crossings that will allow police to ticket drivers who go around guardrails. It is testing drones to monitor the tracks.

The first of the latest spate happened Dec. 7, when a pedestrian was struck in North Miami Beach. Four days later, a pedestrian was struck in Hollywood. On Dec. 30, a 68-year-old driver and his 58-year-old sister died when he drove around warning gates into the path of a Brightline train.

Brightline shut down its service from March 2020 until November, but one of its trains fatally struck a pedestrian in July during an engineer training exercise.

An ongoing AP analysis of federal data that began in 2019 shows Brightline trains strike someone about every 33,000 miles (53,100 kilometers) traveled.

Excluding five small railroads that average less than 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers) traveled a year, where one or two fatal accidents skew their numbers, the railroad with the next worst rate to Brightline is central Florida’s SunRail, which since mid-2017 has had at least 18 deaths or about one every 100,000 miles, according to federal records.

TriRail, a commuter service that operates in the same area as Brightline, averages about one death every 115,000 miles (185,075 kilometers).

Brightline plans to begin service connecting West Palm Beach and Orlando in about a year. On that new segment, trains will reach speeds of 125 mph (200 kph) when they travel through less densely populated farmland. It also is developing a line that will connect Southern California and Las Vegas.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, June 9, 2022. The biggest invest...
Associated Press

In Biden’s big bill: Climate, health care, deficit reduction

WASHINGTON (AP) — The biggest investment ever in the U.S. to fight climate change. A hard-fought cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors in the Medicare program. A new corporate minimum tax to ensure big businesses pay their share. And billions left over to pay down federal deficits. All told, the Democrats’ “Inflation Reduction […]
23 hours ago
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, A...
Associated Press

House Dems set to overcome GOP for climate, health care win

WASHINGTON (AP) — A flagship Democratic economic bill perched on the edge of House passage Friday, placing President Joe Biden on the brink of a back-from-the-dead triumph on his climate, health and tax goals that could energize his party ahead of November’s elections. Democrats were poised to muscle the measure through the narrowly divided House […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsy...
Associated Press

Fetterman plans ‘raw’ remarks in return to PA Senate race

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman is expected to open up about his personal health challenges as he officially returns to the campaign trail Friday, more than 90 days after the Democrat suffered a stroke that threatened his life and political prospects in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests. Fetterman will […]
23 hours ago
Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, center in blue mask, and other lawmakers participate in a prote...
Associated Press

At 75, India’s democracy is under pressure like never before

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Aug. 5 demonstrations by India’s main opposition Congress party against soaring food prices and unemployment began like any other recent protest — an electorally weak opposition taking to the New Delhi streets against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s massively popular government. The protests, however, quickly took a turn when key Congress […]
23 hours ago
A Clinton County employee helps direct traffic as an Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicle leaves the s...
Associated Press

Suspect who tried to breach FBI office dies in standoff

WILMINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities are investigating the motives of an armed man who they say tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office, fled and died hours later in a rural standoff with law enforcement, a case unfolding as the FBI warns agents to take extra precautions amid increased social media threats to its employees […]
23 hours ago
A long line of voters wraps around the Sedgwick County Historic Courthouse in Wichita, Kan., on the...
Associated Press

Kansas abortion vote shows limits of GOP’s strength

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An increase in turnout among Democrats and independents and a notable shift in Republican-leaning counties contributed to the overwhelming support of abortion rights last week in traditionally conservative Kansas, according to a detailed Associated Press analysis of the voting results. A proposed state constitutional amendment would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Florida passenger train line kills 5th person in a month