When you think of a motor vehicle crash, you probably visualize a collision between two cars, or a car and a truck. In New Orleans, there can also be a collision with a streetcar.

Our iconic streetcars move slowly, but they are bigger than passenger cars. If you collide with one, you are likely to be on the losing end in terms of injuries.

How often collisions happen

The New Orleans streetcar is one of the city’s most recognizable attractions. Tourists love to hop on and take a leisurely ride through our beautiful Garden District. However, residents use the streetcars on a daily basis for transportation to work, school and shopping. Private cars and trucks share the city streets with streetcars, so there are bound to be collisions. In 2016, there were 114 streetcar-related crashes, as reported to the National Transit Database. This represented an increase from 2015, which had 96 accidents.

How they occur

According to the public information officer for Transdev, which manages the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, most collisions occur when drivers make left turns in front of streetcars. Many of these crashes happen at traffic intersections.

Preventable collisions

The Transdev stance is that streetcars always have the right of way, but does this mean that a motorist involved in a collision is always at fault? The answer is no. In reporting collisions to the RTA, Transdev classifies them as either preventable or non-preventable. If Transdev finds that a streetcar operator could have prevented a certain accident, the operator will have to undergo retraining.

Determining fault

If you find yourself involved in a collision with a streetcar, a thorough investigation could uncover evidence that may assist in determining the cause. As the Transdev reporting guidelines show, the motorist is not always at fault for such an accident, and from a legal point of view, the negligent party will bear responsibility for any injuries you may suffer.