According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every three hours, a person or vehicle crashes with a train in the United States. It is important to have protocols and measures in place for train crossings to help keep everyone safe. Some causes of train accidents include mechanical or electrical failures, communication failures, human error, and driver fatigue or inexperience. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), over 2,000 train-vehicle collisions have occurred at railroad tracks every year since 2013. With these statistics in mind, it is important for drivers of vehicles, pedestrians, and for train operators to practice extreme care and caution.
A recent news report revealed the devasting details of a train crash in Linthicum, Maryland that resulted in the death of a high school football star. A light rail operator was charged with negligent manslaughter, criminal negligence, and reckless endangerment in the death of the teen. The teen was driving a car along Maple road when the train began to approach, blew its horn before approaching, and the gates’ red lights began flashing. At first, authorities believed the driver failed to obey traffic control devices which resulted in the collision. However, authorities reviewed a video of the accident, which revealed that the train entered the intersection while the gates were still lowering, meaning that the roadway was not completely blocked when the crash happened. The teen driver was pronounced dead on the scene.
How Can Drivers Safely Navigate Train Crossings?
For drivers, it is important to be alert at train crossings. This means paying attention to signage, never driving around lowered gates, and recognizing that trains cannot stop quickly. Furthermore, determining who is liable when a car and train collide can be tricky. It can be hard to determine who is at fault, and in some instances, both the train operator and the vehicle driver may share some of the faults. In addition, when thinking about possible personal injury lawsuits, you may also want to consider who to sue. This may include, but not always, the train operator or engineer, the train company, the manufacturer of the train, and even the local government. Because these accidents are not easy to navigate, connecting with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate your case may be essential.