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Preventing Train Accidents the Spotlight of Rail Safety Week

Jason Reese

Rail Safety Week Reminds Drivers of Train Crash Hazards

The second annual Rail Safety Week (RSW) will be observed from September 23-29 across all U.S. states. This is a perfect time to remind motorist that they are almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle making. The Hoosier state was home to 12 fatal motor vehicle-meets-train accidents, and 47 injuries and 101 collisions with trains in 2017, ranking sixth highest in the nation.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at U.S. DOT reports:

  • Approximately every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train.
  • About half of all crossing collisions occur at highway-rail intersections with flashing lights and/or gates.
  • Three out of four crashes occur within 25 miles of a motorist’s home. Fifty percent of all crashes occur within five miles of home.

Share These Important Messages with Your Network

Indiana’s Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), has offered several life-saving driver tips during this annual event and Wagner Reese is happy to share them on the organization’s behalf.

  • Trains and cars don’t mix.Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
  • The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly.Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That’s 18 football fields!
  • Never drive around lowered gates— it’s illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the emergency number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle ever stalls on the tracks, get out and get away from the tracks, even if you do not see a train. Locate the Emergency Notification System sign and call the number provided, telling them about the stalled vehicle. If a train is approaching, run toward the train but away from the tracks at a 45-degree angle. If you run in the same direction a train is traveling, you could be injured by flying debris.
  • At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
  • When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember it isn’t safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
  • ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.

Indiana State and Federal governments have been proposing improvements to railroad safety for years, including those to improve crash-prone rail intersections across the state. Even with these precautions set into motion, there are still too many drivers who disregard warnings, and those who take risks while crossing with train traffic, often at the expense of their own lives.

Train Accident Lawyers Who Are Here to 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.

Give us a call today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation or speak with us by submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information.


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