Indiana Railroad Crossings Primed to Become Safer

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.