A “Track” Record of Railroad Crossing Accidents
An average empty passenger train weights a ginormous 80,000 pounds, while a compact truck or an SUV weighs a meager 3,500 pounds. So when the two collide, it’s obviously going to be something equivalent to an elephant fighting a cat. Before it can even process the possibility of running away, it’s going to be squished in a step.
Most railroad crossing accidents leave the motorists with fatal of life-changing injuries. In fact, it seems impossible to escape a railroad collision without critical damage. The speed at which an average train travels, combined with its huge mass, the mere force of the collision is enough to pulverize a giant boulder.
Negligence by the train company, their employees or the government can lead to these disastrous effects. They are the ones that are held liable for the injuries caused by elements that are in their control, respectively.
For example, most railroad crossing mishaps occur due to lack of gates or signals to warn motor vehicles of an approaching train. Only a passive sign can be seen at most crossings, one that can easily be overlooked by the motorist. This is the government’s fault and suitable action is taken for the same.
But if the cause of the accident is negligence on the train operator’s part, say, for example, excessive speed, distraction or intoxicated operation, then a lawsuit would be carried out against the operator.
On the other hand, if there is an internal defect in the train, for instance, brake failure, then the train company is deemed responsible and is made to pay heavy monetary compensations to the injured party.
For pursuing a lawsuit against any of the above mentioned and to emerge on the winning side, one must hire an attorney familiar with the laws regarding train accidents and should be able to lead a thorough investigation to gather suitable evidence. The amount of financial compensation depends on the extent of the injury and the level of threat to other passengers, and the jurisdiction takes care that the value is within these required limits.
Railroad crossing accidents are easily preventable if proper precautions are taken. A train traveling at an average speed of 60 to 90 kilometers per hour takes at least one-third of a mile to come to a complete stop. Hence, vehicles should be allowed to cross the tracks only when the train is at least a mile away.
Often, obstructions on the track are a cause of these fatal collisions. The concerned authorities should take appropriate steps to clear out any debris, rocks, animals or any other things on the tracks that may lead to an accident.
Tracks should be regularly inspected for cracks and fissures by the Railway Regulatory Authorities and treated for them as swiftly as possible.
Moreover, safety measures like automated metal gates and warning signals should be installed to ensure complete safety of the passengers.
Railroad crossing accidents are considered the most dangerous accidents, and rightly so, because it puts more than at least fifty people’s lives at risk. Statistics show that a motorist is twenty times more likely to die with train collisions as compared to accidents with any other locomotives. It is imperative for the system to take appropriate measures for ensuring the safety of all its passengers; otherwise, the result would continue to be gory and horrible.