Railroad Crossing Accidents a Hidden Danger in South Carolina

A South Carolina man was killed after he collided with a train while driving his pick up truck. WISTV reported the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys know that railroad crossings are a dangerous place. The Federal Highway Administration explains that there are three basic elements present at all intersections: vehicles, drivers, and the physical intersections themselves.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, the U.S. Railroad system has over 750 railroads and consists of 140,000 miles of track. On a daily basis trains will travel over more than 212,000 miles on highway rail grade crossings.

The frightening reality is that in America, an individual is hit by a train every 180 minutes. Tragically, most of these deaths could be prevented rather easily. Highway rail crossing and trespasser fatalities are responsible for approximately 95 percent of all rail-related deaths.

According to information from the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis there have already been 445 fatal incidents between January 2013 and July 2013 with 12 deaths occurring in South Carolina and 19 deaths in North Carolina.

The extreme additional danger at railway crossings is due to the difference in driver flexibility. In an average intersection, that does not involve trains, all drivers have the ability to quickly alter their direction of travel and apply the brakes.

In the case of a railroad crossing the train operator does not have the ability to alter its path because the train must travel along the tracks.

In addition, the train operator normally needs a great deal of time to stop. It is impossible for an operator to stop a train as quickly as an automobile driver is able to stop.

These differences mean that drivers must bear the primary burden of safety at railway crossings and pay close attention to their environment.

Traffic control devices play an extremely important role in assisting drivers awareness of whether there is an incoming train. Drivers rely on these devices to save their lives and avoid deadly accidents.

Traffic control devices can be divided into two distinct categories which include active devices and passive devices. Active devices include: gates, flashing lights, highway signals, bells, wigwags (railroad grade crossing signal that utilizes a pendulum motion to signal a train is approaching).

Passive signals include Crossbucks, STOP signs and warning other signs.

Due to the extreme danger present at railroad crossings and the heavy reliance on drivers to yield to the train it is imperative that each crossing has functional passive AND active devices.

In an age when motorists are dealing with increasing distractions is it’s important to provide as much advance notice and protection for drivers at railway crossings as possible.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, contact Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation with our North and South Carolina attorneys. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Carolina Charter Bus Accident Involves 28 Students, Kills Driver, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 18, 2013.

New Film Captures Reality of Brain Injuries, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 2, 2013.

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