NHTSA: Stop. Trains Can’t.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently raising awareness about the dangers of railroad crossings. From October 5 through November 8, 2020, the NHTSA will be running their “Stop. Trains Can’t.” public safety campaign. This campaign is in response to the recent increase in railroad crossing fatalities across the U.S.
According to the NHTSA, collisions at railroad crossings happen about every four hours. These collisions are often devastating for smaller vehicles and passenger occupants. Since trains are so large and heavy, it can take them a very long time to stop, even in an emergency. If a vehicle is on the tracks, a train won’t be able to stop in time, and even at a relatively slow rate of speed, serious injuries and even death can occur to passenger occupants in vehicles.
U.S. Railroad Crossing Crash Facts
- In 2019, there were 126 people killed in collisions at railroad crossings.
- 635 people were injured in crashes at railroad crossings in 2019.
- In 2019, 94 fatal collisions happened due to drivers who went around a lowered gate, which was a 10-year high for those types of crashes.
- From 2015 to 2019, 1,589 drivers went around a lowered gate and were struck by a train.
- This accounted for 15 percent of all collisions.
Trains Have The Right of Way
Motorists are reminded that trains always have the right of way. They can’t stop quickly enough to avoid collisions, and a train going 55 miles per hour takes about a mile or more to come to a complete stop. When approaching a train at a railroad crossing, drivers must slow, yield or stop until a train has cleared the roadway and it is safe to cross.
Always exercise caution at railroad crossings. Not all crossings have active warning devices, so make sure you’re paying attention when approaching tracks. Come to a complete stop at least 15 feet away from the tracks if flashing lights are activated, a crossing gate is lowered, a flagman or law enforcement officer signals you to stop, a stop sign is posted or a train is clearly visible or a train whistle is audible. It could save your life.
If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a rail road crossing accident in San Diego or anywhere in Southern California, contact the skilled and proven team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation today.