Are San Francisco Cable Cars Too Much of a Liability?

The cable cars that transport citizens and tourists around downtown San Francisco are deeply embedded in the city’s culture. They have become synonymous with San Francisco itself; however,  recent incidents have some pundits questioning the overall safety of these trains and if they are still practical.

A recent Associated Press article by Paul Ellias questioned the track record—no pun intended—of the cable cars, particularly in recent years. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), there have been 126 accidents over the last 10 years, injuring 151 people. That averages out to approximately one accident per month.

Recently, seven people were injured in a cable car accident when the car abruptly stopped after hitting a bolt on the track. The city of San Francisco paid out about $8 million to settle climes filed by victims in that accident. The city pays approximately $12 million each year to settle lawsuits from victims injured by the cable cars.

“The iconic cable cars of San Francisco are a National Historic Landmark, and we work every day to make them safer,” says San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “While accidents and injuries are down from just a few years ago, we are always working to improve the system as a whole.”
Do you think officials should consider scrapping these historic cable cars for the sake of safety?

Please contact our firm for a free consultation if you have suffered an injury.

Tip of the week: There were 19 people injured in 16 accidents on San Francisco cable cars in 2012.

Bonnici Law Group, APC—San Diego accident attorney