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Common Causes Of Railroad Crossing Accidents

Posted by Chris Powell | Dec 20, 2022 | 0 Comments

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Pennsylvania has more operating railroads, 64, than any other state. In 2017, there were 76 motor vehicle accidents at railroad crossings, resulting in two fatalities and 51 injuries. Twenty-four of these accidents involved a train. In comparison, the previous year, in 2016, there were 78 motor vehicle accidents at railroad crossings, resulting in two fatalities and 37 injuries. And twenty-three of these accidents involved a train.

A car accident at a railroad crossing may result from many factors or causes. Most crossings lack adequate warning devices such as lights and gates, and more than half of all railroad accidents occur at unprotected crossings. Pennsylvania motorists are aware that they may encounter an unprotected railroad crossing anywhere across the state.

The safeguards at most railroad crossings include gates, signs, flashing lights, and color-coded paint, but these may not be adequate based on the danger of the crossing. Even with protective safeguards, accidents at railroad crossings may occur for any of the following reasons:

  • Driving over tracks quickly before a gate closes
  • Poor visibility, going around gates when there appears to be no train coming,
  • Lack of lights or signs indicating crossing
  • Driver distraction, inattention
  • Driver intoxication

Despite the existence of some safeguards to prevent a railroad accident, there are still some railroad crossings that may not do enough to alert drivers of a crossing. The existence or nonexistence of these safeguards may be used to determine who can be held liable for an accident at a railroad crossing. An experienced personal injury attorney can help make this assessment.

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