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
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
- 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.