In the movie, Stand By Me, there is a famous scene where four boys try a short cut and walk out on a railroad track over a ravine. This proves to be a mistake as the oncoming train almost runs them down. Sadly this fictional depiction of kids taking shortcuts on railroad tracks happens in reality all too often and many times the kids aren’t so lucky. Recently in California a teen couple was walking down railroad tracks on the way to a school dance when they were struck by a train. The boy died from his injuries but the girl lived despite serious injury.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pedestrian train accidents increased dramatically in 2013, Through Aug. 31, there had been 352 pedestrian deaths compared with 281 during the same period in 2012, a 25 percent rise. Even worse the fatality rate for pedestrians train accidents was the highest in a decade.
What can be done to prevent these deaths? Aside from convincing all children and teens of the dangers of railroad tracks there is not much anyone can do, unless you are the railroad company. You see, railroad tracks are private property, which means victims are trespassing at their own risk. Yet railroad companies take few if any measures to mitigate the risks, such as building fences to block trespassers in some high-traffic areas.
As a Virginia (VA) railroad accident injury attorney it is not surprising that railroad companies don’t want to be pro-active about safety. Many railroad crossings are not safely maintained and the improper care of vegetation produces high foliage that can block a car driver’s view when approaching the rail crossing. Also, many private crossings and public ones too do not have sufficient signs and warnings. This all leads to devastating car and truck accidents at railroad crossings.
For more information on railroad crossing injuries, click on the links below.