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Car Accidents at Railroad Crossings

Railroad Crossing Accidents

Freight trainThe deaths of six people in a collision at a railroad crossing in New York has riders and transportation officials nationwide looking at the causes of the crash, as well as the potential risk of similar accidents in other parts of the country.

According to data gathered by the Federal Train Administration (FTA), an average of 2,400 people are either killed or seriously injured in train-motor vehicle collisions at train crossings every year. Officials say that the death toll declined dramatically in the 1990s, due to concrete measures taken to increase safety and visibility at railroad crossings. They express concern, thought, that there has been no meaningful decline in railroad crossing collisions for the past decade and a half.

The Factors Involved in Train-Car Crashes

Based on statistics from the last two decades, FTA representatives say that railroad crossing accidents typically involve one of two common causes:

  • A driver fails in his or her effort to beat a train to the intersection—This may be caused by a number of factors. Studies show that larger objects appear to be moving slower than they actually are, so it can be easy to misjudge the speed of the moving train. In addition, with your eyes focus on the road in front of you, you can easily misjudge the distance the train must travel to get to the intersection.
  • A driver fails to see the train crossing warning lights—Safety experts say that the warning lights most often used in railroad crossing signs have narrow beams and often point in directions where they cannot be seen by motorists. In addition, the warning lights have a relatively low output, which is further dissipated by the red glass cover. In bright sunlight, the warning lights tend to get washed out. As a result, the majority of railroad crossing accidents occur during daylight hours.

Contact Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., Attorneys at Law

At Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., we have more than 35 years of experience helping people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 856-429-1700. Your initial consultation is free.

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