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Crashes involving streetcars have increased due to distracted drivers, Hillsborough Transit Authority says

Posted at 6:23 AM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 18:09:42-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Accidents involving streetcars have increased in the past month, according to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority.

The crashes are mainly happening at streetcar crossings around the Water Street area.

There is currently about $4 billion worth of construction along the streetcar tracks and HART believes that is what’s distracting drivers.

“One of the things we would remind motorists out in the road, with all of this great development that’s occurring along the streetcar line, is that they remain patient and follow all traffic signs that are out there,” said Colin Mulloy, HART Director of safety and security.

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There are reports of drivers attempting to race around streetcars to get ahead of them but HART says the streetcars have the right of way and aren’t able to stop immediately.

“The streetcar, say it’s moving 10 miles an hour, it actually takes over 30 feet for that street car to stop,” said Mulloy.

Transit authorities want to remind drivers to look both ways before crossing the tracks and use turn signals.

Since August, HART says it has been actively working with other organizations to prevent future streetcars accidents.

“We’ll be working hand in hand on both the permitting process as well as additional signage and lighting to go up along the street car route,” said Mulloy.

The city of Tampa is inspecting all crossing locations, to look for where they can make safety improvements.