As we have talked about in our blogs before, two of the most dangerous vehicles to be in a collision with are trucks and trains. Being vehicles that are extremely large in both height and weight, collisions with these vehicles often result in extremely serious personal injuries or deaths. That is why it is so important to talk about these types of accidents so that members of our community can be aware of the dangers and know what to look out for and how to protect themselves.
According to a recent article by My State Line, a Rockford truck driver died in a collision with a train in Winnebago County. The truck was crossing over the tracks, and the train was unable to stop. The train engineer sounded the horn, but it was too late to avoid a collision. According to the Winnebago County Police, the semi-truck traveled in the front of the train, but it is unclear why this occurred, so the accident is still under investigation. There are no gates at this particular crossing, but there are crossing lights. Investigators are researching whether there were any mechanical failures with the truck, a medical issue with the driver, or any mechanical issues with the crossing.
Pictures of the aftermath of this accident show how violent of a collision this was. The semi-truck trailer was bent and ripped open. Its cargo – corn – was spilled and strewn on the scene. The semi’s cab was demolished and lying on the other side of the tracks than the trailer. Debris was scattered everywhere.
Our accident attorneys remind all drivers to use the utmost caution around railroads and their crossings, and in return, railroads should always keep tracks and crossings in safe working condition and provide the best warnings and safeguards to drivers about oncoming trains as possible. Using caution and having safeguards in place can and does save lives.
Unfortunately, railroad collisions are extremely prevalent in Illinois. According to the Federal Railroad Administration and reported by Operation Lifesaver, 63% of railroad crossing collisions occurred in 15 states in 2013. The third highest state on the list for collisions was Illinois. In 2013, there were 2,087 crossing collisions throughout the country, and 125 of these collisions occurred in Illinois.
Also according to Operation Lifesaver, a person or vehicle is hit by a train approximately every three hours in the United States. That is why it is especially important to follow safety guidelines. Crossings that have lights and gates are the safest and best protect drivers, so when you need to cross, it is best to cross at one of these designated crossings. It is also never safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail. Also, if your vehicle ever stalls on tracks when a train is coming, get out of your vehicle immediately and move quickly away from the tracks. Additionally, at a multiple track crossing, watch out for second trains on the other tracks approaching from other directions. Lastly, and most importantly, remember that trains cannot stop quickly and that motor vehicles cannot win a race with a train. A freight train moving at 55 mph can take a mile or more to stop once emergency brakes are applied. It is never worth the large risk to beat a train across the tracks.
Our lawyers understand the dangers that railroad crossings can pose, and we adamantly believe that all crossings should keep drivers safe from oncoming trains and provide adequate warning of oncoming trains. We also urge drivers to appreciate the dangers of these crossings and to obey the law to keep themselves and their loved ones free from harm.