The governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb, has “declared this week as Indiana Rail Safety Week” with the hopes “of spreading awareness and saving lives.”
Trains are the largest and most noticeable modes of transportation we share the roadway with today so why it is that so many fatal accidents are occurring involving them? According to WDRB, in 2017, 101 accidents occurred involving trains which resulted in 47 injuries and 12 deaths. The source also highlighted that 10 pedestrians were killed in accidents involving trains and nine others suffered injuries. Because of this increase in the number of accidents involving trains, the state of Indiana now ranks sixth in the nation for railroad crossing collisions.
What’s causing this increase in railroad crossing accidents?
According to Indiana State Patrol Sgt. Jerry Goodin, “there are three main reasons why people are ignoring railroad crossings: complacency, distractions, and being in a hurry.” Goodin told the news source that “people will cross railroad tracks so many times, they never see a train, they never hear a train. Nothing happens. And then all of a sudden, the odds run out on them.” Goodin went on to explain that some of the most dangerous railroad crossings are those that don’t have a crossing arm or flashing lights. And unfortunately, many drivers fail to stop at these railroad crossings because “they either don’t see [them] or simply forget [they are] there.”
Because of the number of deaths and injuries that have been reported, Holcomb has dedicated this week to spread awareness on the dangers associated with railroad crossings and to remind drivers, pedestrians, and even bicyclists that they need to exercise caution when approaching a railroad crossing. The source highlighted that during this campaign, the Indiana State Police will be teaming up with railroad companies, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and the Indiana Operation Lifesaver to “post extra warning signs near historically dangerous crossings.” The signs read, “See Tracks? Think Train.”
Railroad Crossing Safety Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians
Given the data shared above, it is evident that both drivers and pedestrians need to implement some safety tips to avoid becoming the next railroad crossing accident victim. Some tips we felt were worth highlighting are shared below:
- When approaching a railroad track, slow down and take a second to look. It is especially important that you do this at railroad crossings that do not have a crossing arm of flashing lights.
- Don’t text and drive. Not only will this distract you from the roadway, but if you stop near or on a railroad track and begin texting on your cell phone, you won’t see a train approaching nor will you have time to maneuver out of its way.
- Don’t try to beat a train. Trains travel at much faster rates of speed than cars and the likelihood of you “beating” a train is slim.
- Don’t attempt to go around railroad traffic arms. Not only is this illegal to do, but also dangerous and difficult. Once those traffic arms go down, it is usually only a matter of seconds before the train comes flying down the tracks. And if you are caught going around traffic arms, the source highlighted that you will be issued a ticket and will have to pay a minimum fine of $150.
- Never walk along the train tracks. Walking along train tracks is illegal and extremely dangerous so avoid doing it at all costs.
While the Governor of Indiana has dedicated this week to railroad safety, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t implement these safety tips at all times of the year.
If you have been involved in an accident in Gary or Hammond, whether it involved a train or another mode of transportation, you are encouraged to contact Gary, Indiana personal injury attorney Marshall P. Whalley as soon as possible. If you want to recover the maximum compensation your injuries entitle you to collect, you will want a personal injury lawyer working beside you, helping you with your accident case. Therefore, the sooner you call us, the sooner we can begin helping you so that you can focus on recovering. Contact us today for more info.
Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC is located at:
51 W. 112th Avenue
Crown Point, IN 46307