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Although driverless vehicles are not yet a common sight in the Chicago area, many residents of Chicagoland have heard about automated technology and driverless cars. Indeed, many cities, according to an article in Fortune Magazine, are eager to test out this new technology. But what about driverless buses? The prospect of driverless technology, for many of us, is still disconcerting, and it becomes perhaps even so more when we consider Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses driving through the city while being piloted by computers. Should we be anticipating the rise of driverless buses in Chicago? What will the advent of such technology mean for bus accidents in the city?

According to a recent article in Popular Science, some regions of the world have begun testing out automated technology in public transportation, and bus accidents have occurred. Can automated technology really prevent crashes, or does this technology, in its current stages, place us at greater risk of personal injury in a bus accident?

Automated Technology and Bus Accidents Abroad

The most prominent use of technology when it comes to CTA buses is, perhaps, the CTA Bus Tracker system, which allows passengers to use smartphones to track buses and to receive estimated arrival times for transportation. The CTA is not at the point where it has begun testing driverless buses. However, as the Popular Science article clarifies, the use of driverless buses has indeed begun elsewhere, and it has not had especially promising results. It is important for Chicago residents to be aware of the increasing use of driverless technology, because it could soon come to many major urban areas in the United States.


How common are Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Accidents? According to a report from ABC 7 News, deadly CTA bus crashes are much more common than most Chicago residents might expect. To be sure, the report indicates that, "for CTA buses, that crash factor is 36 hours." In other words, every 36 hours—or, every day and a half—a CTA bus is involved in an accident. While not all city bus crashes result in serious or fatal injuries, even a seemingly minor collision can result in passenger injuries such as whiplash. As a fact sheet from WebMD explains, whiplash—also known as neck strain—is an injury that frequently results from traffic collisions.

Why do so many CTA bus accidents happen? Given the very high rate of crashes reported by ABC 7 News, it seems as though the Chicago Transit Authority should be able to take additional steps to prevent these accidents.

High Profile CTA Bus Crashes in the Chicago Area

As the report notes, many commentators did not key into the high rate of CTA bus accidents until there was a series of high profile crashes in the Chicago area. For example, in the past year or so, several very serious accidents occurred that resulted in severe personal injuries. One CTA bus passenger sustained a broken hip in an accident that took place last summer. Around the same time, a fatal crash occurred at Michigan and Lake "when a CTA bus jumped a curb." In 2014, records show that CTA buses caused a series of accidents, including a "chain-reaction" crash in Roscoe Village and a collision involving parked cars in Bronzeville. Also in 2014, a CTA bus crashed "into three parked vehicles, injuring 14 people."


If you live in Champaign, Aurora, Naperville, or another city in the greater Chicago area and commute to work, you may be familiar with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). The CTA is responsible for bus and train service that runs in and around Chicago, including the "L" trains. Over the last several years, numerous CTA train derailments have occurred. In some cases, those derailments have resulted in serious injuries to engineers and passengers. Such derailments also force us to question whether commuter rail travel poses unnecessary risks to passengers. Indeed, according to an article in USA Today, trends in commuter rail accidents in major urban areas have led to serious safety concerns.

To better understand the risk of mass transit accidents and injuries, we should take a closer look at recent incidents in which these trains have derailed.

Recent CTA Train Derailments Impacting Residents of Chicago

Over the last few months, two significant CTA train derailments alerted commuters and other passengers throughout the Chicago area to the risks of commuter train travel. At the end of October 2015, an article in the Chicago Tribune reported a CTA Red Line train derailment on the North Side of the city. According to that article, the derailment was a "minor one" in which no serious injuries were reported, but one of the passengers reported seeing people who were "super anxious" after the derailment occurred. The incident happened on a weekend afternoon, and normal rail service did not resume until just before 7:30 p. m. that evening.

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