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Blue Line On Track For Its Deadliest Year Ever

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Photo by Open Air Control Testing Ground via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Why are so many people injured or killed by L.A.'s Metro Blue Line? That's something a special task force has been organized to look into, as the rail line seems poised to be headed to a record year of deaths on the its tracks.So far in 2012, the Blue Line has had 22 accidents and six fatalities, reports the Los Angeles Times. That's nearing its current record for most fatalities and injuries, when in 1999 there were 10 deaths and 40 injuries on the Blue Line, and the line was named the "deadliest" rail line in California.

And it's not just accidents, like when people attempt to walk or drive across the tracks and hope to evade the oncoming train; suicides are accounting for a hefty portion of the fatalities on the light rail line--four of the six deaths so far this year were deemed suicides.

The 22-mile Blue Line, which opened in 1990, has seen increased safety measures put in place by Metro, and from 2008-2011 enjoyed several years with few injuries or deaths. Also worrying Metro is the new Expo Line, which may post similar safety risks, which also affect the Blue Line:

Since June 2010, Metro and Expo construction authority officials have been trying to solve a track alignment problem in the Washington Boulevard and Flower Street junction near downtown Los Angeles, which is shared by Expo and Blue Line trains. Metro officials and state regulators say the flaw, if uncorrected, poses the risk of derailment for Blue Line trains.
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As proposed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and approved by the Metro board Monday, the task force will attempt to improve how they share information about issues with the line; their goal, says The Source, will be "to establish public information protocols to report accident and service disruption information when incidents occur and regularly report the information to news media and via social media."