Earlier this month, the passenger in a Ford truck was killed when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by a train in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The accident occurred after another car failed to yield while attempting to make a left turn, hitting the truck and forcing it onto the railroad track. After this occurred, the truck’s passenger got out of the vehicle and attempted to help the driver out of the vehicle as well. However, he was struck by a moving train and killed immediately.
GEORGIA HAS A HIGH RATE OF TRAIN RELATED ACCIDENTS
In the United State, a person or vehicle is struck by a train every two hours. According to the United States Department of Transportation, there are approximately 5,800 train related accidents every year. In total, these accidents result in nearly 600 fatalities and over 2,300 injuries.
Georgia has the tenth highest number of train related accidents within the country. Close to 381 train related accidents occur in the state of Georgia every year. In addition, Georgia has the fifth highest number of fatalities from train related accidents. An estimated ten percent of these train related accidents resulted in one or more deaths.
There are several types of train related accidents. They include: collisions, derailments, and highway-rail and trespassing incidents. The later occurs when an interaction between a train and highway passenger leads to an accident at either a rail crossing or on the railroad tracks.
TRACK DEFECTS AND HUMAN ERROR ARE THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF TRAIN RELATED ACCIDENTS
Train related accidents are caused by many factors. Approximately 63 percent of train related accidents are caused by track defects and human error. Examples of human error that cause a train related accidents are: negligence on the part of the train conductor or crew, failure to abide by safety regulations, failure to sound the horn or light the train when approaching a crossing, inadequate breaking, and improper loading of cargo. In addition, equipment defects account for 17 percent of train related accidents.
Greater than half of all vehicle collisions involving trains occur at crossings where adequate protection or caution measures, such as proper signage, do not exist. The Federal Railroad Administration reports that a single crossing without appropriate signage can result in as many as eight serious accidents in any given year.
TRAIN RELATED ACCIDENTS CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURIES AND DEATH
Vehicle accidents involving trains are particularly fatal due to the size, weight, and speed involved. In addition, vehicle accidents involving trains can cause serious injuries and damage to property. For example, a 150-car freight train traveling at speeds of 50 miles per hour will need over a mile of distance to stop.
In addition, many freight trains carry hazardous waste and other dangerous materials. A railroad accident involving trains carrying this type of material occurs every two weeks.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a train related accident, contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can help preserve your legal rights and ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your injuries.