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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis April 5, 2013
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L.A. Metro Safety Event Focuses on Suicides, Distracted Behavior

Officials of Los Angeles Metro joined suicide prevention experts, law enforcement, and passenger safety ambassadors March 15 at the Metro Blue Line Vernon Station to host a special event focusing on suicides and accidents on the light rail line. Many of these incidents involve pedestrians who ignore or go around gates and other safety warning devices, with tragic consequences.

According to the agency, the Metro Blue Line carries about 27 million boarding passengers annually along a 22-mile alignment that stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach. Train versus motor vehicle accidents have shown a steady decline over the past 23 years since service began, but pedestrian incidents remain a stubborn problem with suicides becoming a major concern: In 2012, four people committed suicide by jumping in front of Blue Line trains.

As a result, Los Angeles Metro entered into a partnership with the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center to handle the increase by ramping up community ­outreach and intervention.

Law enforcement and safety officials at the event also urged the public to pay attention when approaching train stations and crossing the tracks and to stay behind the safety gates when they are lowered. They said they often observe pedestrians along the alignment texting, listening to music through headphones, making phone calls, drawing their hoodies low across their faces, and otherwise not being aware of their surroundings.

Los Angeles Metro recently conducted a special event to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and suicides on its Blue Line and call attention to distracted and dangerous behavior around the tracks. One such activity is this "Heads Up!" safety wrap along the length of the train.

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