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Railroad Crossings in Austin More Dangerous Than Ever: Inspections Ordered

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red light at railroad crossing with train speeding byYou may think the chances of getting injured at a railroad crossing in Austin are pretty slim, but according to the latest shocking numbers, you are probably wrong. According to a recent report, since 2013, 96 people have died, and 419 were hurt at intersections across the country where stoplights are interconnected with railroad equipment.

High Number of Injuries and Deaths Creates Call for Inspections

Because of the disturbingly high number of injuries and deaths at railroad crossings, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a safety alert asking all states to inspect stoplights at railroad crossings. The FRA believes that faulty lights could be the cause of the increase in devastating injuries, and hopes that the inspections will identify problems and prevent further injuries and deaths.

Unfortunately, stoplights aren’t always functional at the railroad crossings where they are placed, which can cause collisions between vehicles and trains. Additionally, the malfunction can also cause rear-end collisions between vehicles that can force one onto the train tracks where disaster can occur. Even if the stoplights are off by just a second and traffic crosses over the railroad sections when it shouldn’t, serious accidents can take place.

For this reason, the FRA has placed an urgent request for states to meticulously inspect all safety equipment at railroad crossings, to hopefully prevent additional injuries and deaths.

Frightening Facts Motorists Need to Know

It’s pretty safe to assume that a majority of drivers realize just how dangerous coming in contact with a train is. Unfortunately, there are still some motorists out there who think they can take on—and beat—a moving locomotive. The truth is, however, trains can cause more destruction than you may be aware of and accidents with trains typically cause devastation. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The force of a 30-car freight train hitting a vehicle is equivalent to the force of a car crushing an aluminum soda can.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, based on the rate of death per collision, a motorist is 20 times more likely to die in an accident involving a train than in an accident involving another vehicle.
  • During the day, 75 percent of car and train collisions occur as a result of the train coming into contact with the car. At night, however, the car runs into the train about 50 percent of the time, and often at inadequately marked crossings.
  • A shocking 80 percent of railroad crossings do not have adequate warning devices.
  • Rail companies use technology that was created 70 years ago, with very little research or improvement made to update these safety measures.

How You Can Stay Safe

Despite the safety measures that Texas has taken to keep its railroad crossings safe, it is up to you to prevent a devastating accident from happening to you. By taking these steps, you may be able to stop a terrible crash from occurring:

  • Never ride on or next to a train track. Trains can hang over three feet on either side of the track. Even if you think you are safe traveling alongside a track, you could be wrong.
  • Never assume a train will stop for you. A conductor is not able to stop a moving train immediately. In fact, a locomotive that is going 55 mph travels about one mile before it is able to completely stop moving. By the time the train operator sees you or your vehicle in the tracks, it is likely too late.
  • Trains are quieter now than ever before. Motorists used to be able to hear trains before they saw them, but that is no longer the case. Trains are designed to make less noise now, and some areas in Austin have been designated as “quiet zones,” meaning the conductor no longer hits the horn when passing through the locations, leaving you to rely on what you see to keep yourself safe.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to stop before you reach a crossing. Perhaps the most common scenario of another vehicle causing you to collide with a train is being hit from behind and then bumped into the crossing. Always slow down before you come upon a crossing, to give everyone around you plenty of notice that you are stopping. Doing so could stop a rear-end accident from occurring.

If You’ve Been Injured Because of Another Driver’s Negligence

If another driver’s error caused you to become injured in a train vs. car accident, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. Contact the attorneys of Wayne Wright by calling 800-237-3334 to schedule a consultation and find out if we can help.

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