Did You Know It’s Rail Safety Week?
Busy drivers and distracted pedestrians can easily overlook rail safety. This may be why every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Operation Lifesaver tries to reduce the number of rail-related deaths. Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit rail safety education and public awareness organization dedicated to saving lives. Part of the effort includes Rail Safety Week. The goal of Rail Safety Week is to raise awareness of the need for rail safety education. Rail Safety Week also empowers the public to keep themselves safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way. This year Rail Safety Week is September 21 through September 27.
Collisions Between Trains and Motor Vehicles
Since 1972, there has been an 82 percent decline in collisions between trains and motor vehicles. Operation Lifesaver has helped to reduce the number of train/motor vehicle collisions from a 1972 high of roughly 12,000 annual incidents. In 2018, there were approximately 2,200 incidents.
Collisions and Fatalities by State
According to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, 2,216 highway-rail grade crossing collisions occurred in 2019. Approximately 68 percent of all 2019 highway-rail grade crossing collisions occurred in the following states:
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
Railway accidents can be deadly. These accidents can also be prevented. Below are safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians.
Driver Rail Safety Tips
Obey All Signs and Signals
Traffic control systems for railroad crossings may include signals, signs, lights, and markings. Obey all signals and remember the following when approaching a railroad crossing:
- Slow down and be ready to stop when a round railway crossing sign is visible.
- Drivers must stop if there is a stop sign at the crossing.
- If a train is coming, drivers must stop at least 15 feet from the tracks.
- If the signal lights are flashing, drivers must stop. Drivers may proceed if no train is visible or it is safe to cross.
- Even if there is no stop signal and no train is coming, passenger buses and trucks carrying flammable or dangerous materials must stop.
- If a gate is lowered, do not proceed around it even if no train is visible.
- A crossbuck sign indicates the location of a train crossing and means drivers must yield to trains.
Leave Stuck Vehicles
Avoid stalling and do not shift gears while crossing the tracks. Leave a stuck vehicle on the tracks. Exit the vehicle immediately and notify local law enforcement or railroad authorities.
Trains Take Time to Stop
Trains cannot stop in time to miss cars. It can take the average freight train traveling at 55 mph a mile or more to stop.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is dangerous driving. In Nevada, a driver may not talk, send or receive messages or search the internet on a cellular telephone or other handheld wireless device. Drivers can use a hands-free accessory.
Maintain a Clear View
Look both ways, even if there is no stop sign or signal that a train is coming. Drivers stopped at a crossing where there is more than one set of tracks must wait until they have a clear view. This view should be clear in both directions. Drivers should only proceed when they can see all sets of tracks are clear. Remember, it is difficult to accurately judge the speed of a moving train.
Park Away from Tracks
Never park a vehicle within 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad.
Railroad safety is everyone’s priority. If you are the victim in a railroad accident, contact Anthem Injury Lawyers. Las Vegas Anthem Injury Lawyers is a team of experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyers and case managers. We offer you the benefit of our experience as top personal injury lawyers, plus we work on a contingency fee basis, so we don’t get paid unless you win compensation. Based in Henderson, Nevada, we work with clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 to make an appointment for a free consultation. If you are severely injured don’t worry – we can come to you to discuss your case.
Pedestrian Rail Safety Tips
Pedestrians should not walk or play on or around railroad tracks. Railroad tracks are private property. Operation Lifesaver provides the following safety tips for pedestrians:
Only Cross Tracks at Designated Pedestrian or Roadway Crossings
The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights, or a gate. If a pedestrian crosses at any other place, they are trespassing.
Trespassing Is a Dangerous Crime
Railroad tracks, trestles, yards, and equipment are private property. Trespassers are subject to arrest and fine. If a person is in a rail yard uninvited by a railroad official, they are trespassing and subject to criminal prosecution. Trespassers can be injured or killed in a busy rail yard.
Trains Take Time to Stop
It can take a mile or more to stop a train. A locomotive engineer who suddenly sees someone on the tracks will be unable to stop in time.
Trains Extend Beyond the Tracks
Trains overhang the tracks by at least three feet in both directions. Loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. A person in the right-of-way next to the tracks can be hit by the train.
Pause After a Train Passes
Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes. A second train might be blocked by the first. Trains can come from either direction. A pedestrian should wait until they can see clearly around the first train in both directions.
Obey All Signals
Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. A person can be fined for failure to obey these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing. Do not cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it is safe to do so.
Trestles Are Only for Trains
Do not hunt, fish, or bungee jump from railroad trestles. There is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass. Trestles are not meant to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges. Never walk, run, cycle, or operate allterrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks.
Stay Off Railroad Equipment
Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time. A slip of the foot can cost a person a limb or their life.
All Tracks Are Dangerous
No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.
Stay Alert for Trains
Trains do not follow set schedules. Any time is train time.
Save the Selfies for Safe Spots
“Selfies” and photo shoots on train tracks are dangerous and illegal. More than 20 Americans have been killed or injured in photography-related train track incidents since 2011.
If you are the victim of an accident on or around railroad tracks, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
We hope you stay safe at railroad crossings and around train tracks. If you are injured in an accident, you need legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer. The experienced team at Anthem Injury Lawyers can help protect your rights and get you the settlement that you deserve. Sometimes well-meaning people will say that lawyers aren’t necessary or that they are unaffordable. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 to make an appointment for a free consultation. Our years of experience offers you the best opportunity to receive maximum compensation. We know how to deal with insurance companies, so you won’t be faced with that burden. Call us now and tell us about your case.