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Reasons Why Vehicle Collisions with Trains Occur

A teenager in Zeeland Township, Michigan recently died after her motor vehicle collided with a train. The driver had just exited a private driveway when the accident occurred. The motor vehicle tried to cross the railroad tracks and was struck on the passenger side by the train. The train was traveling at a rate of 35 miles per hour and had 33 cars. As a result of this collision, the motor vehicle proceeded to roll over. The motor vehicle operator was rescued by first responders and airlifted to a nearby medical facility, where she later died from injuries caused by the accident. Statistics compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration report that there were 2,087 highway rail incidents at public and private crossings in 2013 that resulted in 251 fatalities and 929 injuries. 

Reasons Why Vehicle Collisions with Trains Occur

Railroad companies are required to watch for the safety of their passengers as well as motor vehicles drivers who can be harmed at railroad crossings. There are many ways in which railroad accidents occur. Some of the most common reasons motor vehicles collide with trains include the following:

  • Defective warnings due to improperly working bells, gates, or lights.
  • Distracted motor vehicle drivers or train operators.
  • Drivers who try to beat a train to a railroad crossing.
  • Failure to install adequate warning devices at railroad tracks including alarms, functioning crossing gates, or lights.
  • Improperly parking a train too close to a crossing in such a way that the vision of motor vehicles is obstructed from seeing other oncoming trains.
  • Limited visibility that prevents motor vehicle operators from noticing an oncoming train at a sufficient distance away.
  • Motor vehicles that experience failures and come to a stop on railroad tracks.
  • Poorly maintained railroad crossing that can be obstructed by trees, foliage, or vegetation that prevent a motor vehicle operator from noticing railroad tracks or an approaching train.
  • Trains that do not sound their whistles while approaching a railroad crossing. 

How to Avoid Being Injured in Railroad Crossing Accidents

Railroad accidents have the potential to result in serious injuries. Fortunately, there are some steps that motorists can take to avoid being involved in these accidents. Some of these steps include the following:

  • Never stop on railroad tracks.
  • Cross railroad tracks only at designated areas.
  • Fully examine your surroundings when approaching a railroad crossing.
  • In the event that a motor vehicle becomes stuck on railroad tracks, promptly leave the vehicle and contact emergency services.
  • Make sure to look in both directions prior to crossing railroad tracks.
  • Never race trains to a crossing.

Motor vehicle collisions with trains have the potential to result in serious injuries and even fatalities. If you or loved one have been involved in this type of accident, consider obtaining the assistance of a skilled attorney who can make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner. Contact a Clare personal injury lawyer at Jay Trucks and Associates today for a free consultation. Ph: (800) 762-8623.