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EXCLUSIVE: Can SEPTA Vehicles And Drivers Coexist?

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natasha-brown-web Natasha Brown
Natasha Brown is the Emmy Award-winning anchor for the weekend eve...
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By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Danger on the road — sharing the busy streets of Philadelphia with SEPTA vehicles is an essential skill for drivers.

CBS 3 has obtained exclusive video that shows what happens when things go wrong.

It’s a delicate dance as cars, buses, and trolleys intermingle along bustling city streets.

It’s often a dangerous mix that leads to disturbing collisions like this.

“He’s in the operator’s lane. It’s a head-on collision,” Michael Liberi says.

Cameras on board buses and trolleys gives an inside glimpse at shocking video.

SEPTA’s Michael Liberi gives Eyewitness News an exclusive look at some of the most disturbing cases.

“They make a left right in front of the bus,” Liberi says.

There’s example after example of motor vehicle drivers risking their lives and the lives of passengers on board SEPTA vehicles in crashes that SEPTA officials say could have been prevented.

“A car from the left lane tries to turn in front of the bus. This is a very common occurrence,” Liberi says.

Nothing was more disturbing than this head-on collision between a car and a 30-ton trolley which ended in a fatality.

“Our trolleys can’t get out of the way. They’re on rail and there’s no cushion,” Liberi says.

SEPTA averages as many as 10 accidents a day, but buses and trolleys combined run as many as 16,000 trips per day.

Still, drivers say sharing the road with such massive, intimidating vehicles is a bit frightening.

“It’s really dangerous,” says driver Steve Klarich. “And the buses they really have a mind of their own where it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whatever they want to do, they’re going to do anyway. So it makes it really dangerous.”

“It’s not easy,” says driver Meredith Magoon. “You just have to drive defensively and be aware and alert at all times.”

SEPTA hoping its buses and trolleys can coexist with motorists if both share the responsibility of traveling safely.

“I would say to exercise patience, to turn in front of a bus is never a good idea,” Liberi says.

There are as many as 10 to 12 cameras on SEPTA buses and trolleys, so any incident that happened on the streets is captured on video. SEPTA officials say they often use those cases to train operators as to how to stay safe on the roadways.

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