An accident between a semi-trailer truck and a freight train took place in Eastern Illinois on Friday afternoon, according to Wandtv.com. Our train accident lawyers learned that the collision occurred in the small town of Caitlin, several miles southwest of Danville. The report states that the truck driver was traveling across the tracks at a moderate speed; the truck’s cab had just cleared the tracks when the train suddenly appeared and struck the semi’s empty trailer at close to 55mph.
The impact of the collision pushed the trailer about one hundred feet west of the crossing and left a large hole in its side. The driver of the semi-trailer thankfully walked away from the accident without serious injury. Illinois State Police and Norfolk Southern railroad officials are currently investigating the accident to determine if any other factors may have contributed to the collision.
In previous blogs, our law firm has discussed the number and severity of train accidents in Illinois, as almost all of these accidents include property damage, personal injury, medical expenses, or fatalities. Statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) show that railroad crossings in Illinois are more dangerous in terms of accident population. In 2010, Illinois was the second deadliest state in train crossing fatalities out of ten states. The FRA is currently making efforts to improve safety near railroads in Illinois and many other states with a high number of train crossing fatalities.
We would like to urge the public to always be cautious when traveling near railroad tracks. Railroad collisions have many causes, including improper installation of warning devices, improper sight lines that prevent drivers from seeing an oncoming train, failure to properly maintain crossing areas, or other types of negligence that may occur by either the train company or other vehicles involved. Surprisingly, nearly half of all collisions at railroad crossings occur when automatic warning devices such a flashing lights or gates are present and are functioning properly. Therefore, be aware of these warning devices and avoid train tracks when they are flashing. Be especially alert near train tracks that do not have these warning devices.
In addition, many people believe that if they ever crossed the train tracks at an inappropriate time, they would be able to avoid the train, or the train would be able to stop in time. However, most freight trains traveling at about 50 miles per hour take over a mile to stop. Therefore, if there is any possibility of a train coming nearby, avoid the train tracks and do not cross them until you are sure you can do so safely.
Although the above report does not confirm who was to blame in the accident, when motorists do suffer serious injuries as a result of a train accident, they have the right to take action. We understand that train accidents can result in life altering consequences. If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in a train accident due to a negligent driver, please contact us to learn about what rights and compensation may be available to you.