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Indiana Railroad Crossings Primed to Become Safer

Jason Reese

Indiana Road-Rail Intersections Receive 10M Lifeline to Safety

There has not been a shortage of news related to accidents and Indiana’s most dangerous rail crossings. In fact, in 2016, Operation Lifesaver reported that Indiana had 10 fatal motor vehicle-meets-train accidents, ranking the Hoosier state the fifth highest in the nation.

That ranking may soon fall though as Indiana lawmakers have approved a new law that provides money to improve crash-prone rail intersections. The infrastructure funding legislation was recently set in motion by Gov. Eric Holcomb. House Bill 1002 will require the Indiana Department of Transportation to develop a measurement to evaluate which rail crossing needs to be fixed first and spend the $10 million to improve crash-prone rail intersections with local roads and state highways. Lawmakers agree northwest Indiana will need the most work because of the current heavy congestion and at-risk crossings responsible for dozens of accidents each year.

Crash-Prone Rail Intersections Bring Wrongful Death Cases To Life

Accidents such as motor vehicle-meets-train crashes are owing to negligence on part of the part of the driver, attributable to the driver not heeding to warning signs. Indiana law is explicit on this and says all motorists are supposed to stop between 15 and 50 feet from the nearest railroad tracks before proceeding.

Although, even with the new legislation marked to help these types of crashes, there may still be a case for wrongful death in some instances:

  • Even if a stop sign is in place, it may not be visible. In fact, the tracks, or an approaching train, itself may not be visible in the dark.
  • There might not be any crossbars in place at the crossing. Although railroad crossings without crossbars are common in some places, it may still be reasonably argued that the absence of crossbars, combined with poor lighting, made the driver oblivious to the danger. Indiana law mandates that the Indiana Department of Transportation co-ordinate with the railroad and the municipality to take all possible precautions to ensure safety at crossings.
  • Indiana law requires the railroad to equip the locomotive engine with a whistle, and a bell, and the driver to sound the whistle on the engine distinctly at least four times before reaching the crossing. If this is not done properly, motorists may be unaware of the approaching train.
  • Like vehicles, trains also have speed limits. In some accidents, victims have alleged that the train was above the permissible speed limits. This can be difficult to prove and a time when an experience attorney can help.

With the new law in place, investigators will have more time and money to spend routinely looking at these risk factors. They will also review whether the railway crossing warning systems are appropriate for that particular crossing and look into whether they are visible and operating correctly to prevent a tragic accident.

Auto Accident Lawyers Can Help

Train companies have powerful insurance companies, so if you or a loved one are injured in a collision with a train, it is critical to employ an experienced attorney. This is one scenario in which you do not want to find yourself alone, especially if you are healing or grieving. The auto accident attorneys at Wagner Reese have spent decades working on cases like these for vulnerable clients and their families. Call us today for a no-cost, risk-free consultation: (888) 204-8440.


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