Chicago.cbslocal.com released that a man was killed on Tuesday morning when a Metra train struck him as he was crossing the tracks in Downers Grove. A Chicago train accident attorney at our firm read that according to Metra, he was struck by an inbound train near the Downers Grove Main street station around 9:40am.
The report states that this is the third fatality involving a Metra train since late last week and the fourth time a Metra train has struck a pedestrian in that time. Last Thursday, a 56-year old was killed by a West Line train near the Bensenville Station as she was crossing the tracks just west of Addison Street. Last Friday, a Metra train struck an eleven-year old boy as he was crossing the tracks at Illinois Route 59 near Lake Cook Road in downtown Barrington; he survived, but with severe injuries. And on Monday, a 42-year old of Clarendon Hills was struck and killed by a train near the West Hinsdale station.
A transportation expert discussing the accidents said he has never heard of so many in such a short amount of time. “Metra is going to have to look deep inside to see what they haven’t tried yet,” he stated. “Whether it’s security guards at some of these crossings at peak times, whether it’s sound signals when trains are coming, or slowing down trains, something needs to be looked at. This can’t continue.”
CBS 2 states that Illinois is ranked sixth in the nation for fatalities on train tracks. Surprisingly, railroad crossings in Illinois are statistically more dangerous in terms of accidents per population. In 2010, Illinois was the second deadliest state in train crossing fatalities out of ten states; there were a total of 27 fatalities in a 12.8 million population in Illinois. This is more than twice the number in much larger states. Throughout the nation, a person or a vehicle is hit by a train in the United State every two hours, totaling about 3,000 accidents each year. The Federal Railroad Administration is currently making efforts to improve safety near railroads in all states with a high number of train crossing fatalities.
Our law firm is aware of the number and severity of train accidents in Illinois and would like to urge the public to be more cautious when traveling near railroad tracks this spring. 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. 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. Continuing, 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.
Causes of railroad collisions may include 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. Although the above reports do not confirm who was to blame in the accidents, almost every train accident involves property damage, personal injury, medical expenses, or death.
When motorists or pedestrians do suffer serious injuries as a result of a train accident, they have the right to take action. Often times, victims’ families are able to file claims in civil court against train companies involved. Our lawyers 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.