Articles Posted in Train Accidents

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The grandfather of a young woman who suffered severe and permanent brain damage when her mother’s vehicle was struck by a train has won his bid for a new trial in South Carolina.railroad

In Stephens v. CSX Transportation, plaintiff sued the railroad company and the state department of transportation, alleging the railroad company was negligent in failing to sound the train’s horn far enough in advance of the crossing and for failure to remove trees and other vegetation that obstructed the driver’s view of the track. With respect to the state department of transportation, he alleged there was a negligent failure to properly inspect the railroad crossing, and further that stop signs and the stop line were installed at improper locations.

Jurors in the first trial found in favor of defendants, and the appellate court affirmed that judgment. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed, finding portions of the judge’s instructions to jurors were erroneous and adversely affected plaintiff. Continue reading →

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A recent train accident in Pompano Beach took the life of a 31-year-old man.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), the accident occurred near the intersection of Dixie Highway and NE 48th Street around 7:00 p.m. The man reportedly walked into the path of an oncoming Florida East Coast Railways cargo train. The red lights were flashing and the warning gates were down.
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“The train engineer saw him and beeped the horn. He appeared distracted. We don’t know why at this point,” said Dani Moschella, a BSO spokeswoman. According to NBC6, Moschella adds that trains aren’t able to stop in time when the conductor sees someone on the tracks. Because they’re not able to stop, the warning lights and the gates are there to serve as warnings and to keep people off of the tracks.

Our Broward County injury lawyers understand that a person or vehicle is hit by a train on an average of every 120 minutes in the U.S. About half of these accidents happen at crossings where there are warning lights, signs and gates! Consider this: A 150-car train that’s going 50 mph will take over a mile to come to a complete stop. That’s why it’s so important for us to be cautious when traveling near railroad tracks.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are close to 6,000 vehicle-train accidents that happen each and every year in the country. Again, most of these accidents happen at railroad crossings. These kinds of accidents claim the lives of roughly 600 people every year. In addition to these fatalities, these accidents injure more than 2,000. During the daytime, about three quarters of train-car accidents involve a train hitting the car. During the nighttime, about half of these accidents involve cars running into trains at crossings that are not properly marked.

The lesson behind all of this is to be safe and always expect a train when you’re near train tracks.

Railroad Crossing Safety Tips:

-Remember that trains don’t run on a schedule. They can be on the tracks at any time.

-Always pay attention to railroad crossing warnings. Never overrule them just because you don’t see or hear a train.

-Trains travel faster than you think. Always allow extra room.

-Make sure you can get completely across the tracks before attempting to cross.

-Stay off railroad property and stay safe.
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Findings from a recently released study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded that governing the speed limits on our nation’s roadways, especially of commercial trucks, may be the way to go.

Reducing speed limits may be the key to helping us to achieve safer roadways and fewer trucking accidents and elsewhere. Transportation officials with the FMCSA have determined that there are plenty of benefits of in-vehicle technology that can govern and limit the top speed of commercial trucks.

It’s these same trucks that often produce fatal results in roadway accidents.
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“This study confirms what ATA has been saying for years – speed kills and one of the most effective ways to prevent hundreds, if not thousands, of crashes on our highways is to slow all vehicles down,” said Bill Graves, President and CEO American Trucking Associations.

Our Wilton Manors injury attorneys understand that the ATA petitioned both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the FMCSA nearly 10 years ago in an attempt to mandate the installation and the use of these speed regulation devices on all commercial vehicles that were made after 1992.

The recent FMCSA study backs up the ATA’s claims as they continue to call on rules and regulations to require these devices on most, if not all, trucks on our roadways, according to Vehicle Service Pros.

Researchers with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the American Transportation Research Institute completed this most recent study.

Speed is one of the most common factors in fatal accidents across the country. Still, drivers of all kinds continue to push the pedal to the metal and risk their lives in doing so.

According to Graves, slowing down these large commercial trucks may be one of the most beneficial ways to help make our roadways safer for everyone. Both he and the ATA are proposing a measure to make a national speed limit of 65 miles per hour for all vehicles. He goes on to give a big thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) for backing such a thorough study. And he is asking officials to use these findings to create new safety regulations for large trucks throughout the nation.

Speed can be found as a top factor in about a third of all fatal accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Officials estimate that speed-related accidents result in an economic cost to U.S. society of more than $27 billion each year.

Speed significantly reduces the amount of time that a driver has to react to a roadway danger and a potential accident. The faster a vehicle is driving, the higher the risks are for an accident. Slow it down and keep it safe.
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Just shy of 7 a.m. on Jan. 18, a Florida East Coast Railway train engineer reported spotting a body alongside the track just south of Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Cops believe the victim – a white male – was side-swiped by a southbound train late Monday night. Details determining the exact time and cause of death are still being investigated.

As our West Palm Beach injury lawyers noted in an earlier post to our South Florida Injury Lawyers blog, a full investigation into the cause of death or injury in a pedestrian-related Florida train accident is a critical step in protecting the rights of the injured.
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In 2009, Operation Lifesaver reports, there were 1,916 reports of highway-railroad crossing collisions nationwide. More than 60 percent of them happened in just 15 states. Of those, Florida ranked 13th with 50 reported railway-related collisions.

Another 246 highway-railroad crossings were fatal. Again, nearly three-quarters of those deadly accidents happened in just 15 states. Florida ranked 7th with 10 deaths linked to railroad accidents. Florida also ranked 7th for pedestrian-railway crossing fatalities with 19 pedestrians killed by trains in 2009. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that overall in 2009, Florida railroad crossings were the site of 199 traffic crashes; 29 fatal and nearly 2,000 with injuries.

Pedestrian-railway crossing accidents remain the leading cause of railway-related fatalities at an estimated 500 pedestrian deaths each year. A three-year investigation by the Federal Railroad Administration revealed that the average victim of a pedestrian-railroad crossing death is most often a white male in his late 30s.

Operation Lifesaver offers some tips to help pedestrians avoid becoming a railroad fatality statistic:

~ First and foremost, even if you can’t see or hear one, ALWAYS expect a train is heading your way. Trains are fast and can approach from any direction at any time.

~ The safest place for a pedestrian is well off the track and well outside the overhang zone that extends at least three feet beyond the tracks on both sides. Tracks may appear inactive, but most times they are not.

~ Never try and beat the train. Even if you don’t slip and fall, it is an optical illusion that a train seems further away and to be moving slower than it actually is. A 100-car train traveling 55 m.p.h. requires 18 football fields in length to come to a complete stop.

~ Only cross at designated locations when you know the rail is clear to cross. Never walk over rail bridges or through tunnels or climb on or between moving or non-moving rail cars. Of course, never try to hop onto a moving train or jump from train to train if astride along a railway.
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