Trolley Accidents Decline Despite Recent Collision

The downtown car-trolley collision Wednesday that left two men injured came at a time of decreasing accidents on the line and does not point to a need for more safeguards, according to trolley officials.

The accident was probably unavoidable and the operator remains in good standing with an excellent record, according to Pete Tereschuck, manager of transportation for San Diego Trolley. San Diego Police Department traffic investigators said Monday it appears Jose Santos, of San Diego, collided with the trolley after he ran a red light at 30th and Commercial streets.

Since the trolley line opened in 1981, accidents have declined steadily, Tereschuck said. Seventeen accidents occurred during the 1986 fiscal year ending in June, two fewer than in 1984 and 1985.

“We developed an in-house accident prevention training program, and the results of that effort were most positive as far as we were concerned,” Tereschuck said. He said all 45 operators were instructed six months ago on defensive driving, anticipating collisions and recognizing potential dangers.


Only two fatalities involving the trolley have occurred, one when a late-night walker wandered onto the tracks in 1982 and another involving a motorcyclist in Chula Vista in May, 1985, Tereschuck said.

“Compared in safety to all other light-rail operations around the country, we are definitely No. 1,” he said.