Causes of Railroad Crossing Accidents
While it is often the driver’s responsibility to avoid a train accident
due to the difficult nature of a train quickly evading imminent collisions,
it doesn’t automatically place the driver at fault. On some occasions,
fault is placed on the railroad companies for their failure to exercise
ordinary duty of care, putting the public at risk of danger.
Other times, faulty design of a railroad crossing is the root of the problem.
Properly designed railroad crossings should give conductors enough distance
for trains to have proper breaking clearance as well as have warning systems
for drivers that alert drivers of an incoming train well before it is in sight.
A jury takes many things into consideration when determining whether a
railroad crossing is a safety hazard, including whether there was:
- A crossing gate failure, such as a malfunctioning crossing arm
- A line-of-sight obstruction
- A crossing with improper signage
- A negligently marked or designed crossing
- A failure to sound alarm or horns
Other causes of railroad crossing accidents range from negligent train
engineers to a train travelling well above the speed limit.
Unprotected Train Crossings & Determining Liability
According to preliminary statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration,
there were 2,214 railroad crossing collisions in 2018 resulting in 270
fatalities and 819 injuries. Many of these collisions occur at unprotected
or passive crossings, which are those with no more than a railroad crossing
sign. In fact, the majority of railroad crossings do not have warning
devices such as lights and/or gates, making them extremely dangerous.
When there is a railroad collision accident at an unprotected crossing,
multiple parties can be held liable.
Liable parties may include:
- The operating railroad company
- The track owner
- The train designer or manufacturer
- The county or city
- The vehicle driver or pedestrian
If you or a loved one was harmed in a railroad crossing collision, contact
our DeKalb County railroad crossing accident lawyers at
(800) 761-0993 or through our
online form. We offer free consultations and legal services in both English and Spanish.
How Common Are Railroad Crossing Accidents?
recent data, railroad crossing accident statistics indicate that this type of accident
is far more common than most people would like to believe:
- Illinois is one of the five states with the most railroad crossings intersecting
with public roads
- Of all of the public railroad crossings in the U.S., only about 36% have
gates to deter vehicles from crossing when a train is present
- In 2015 there were over 2,000 railroad crossing accidents, resulting in
over 200 deaths and over 900 injuries