You can see it from a distance-
You can hear the approaching horn-
You look ahead and insist on making it to the other side-
Your foot pushes the accelerator a bit more; thinking you have a chance to beat the approaching locomotive and fly over the track-
Ignoring the flashing lights, you make it across before the railroad crossing arms stop the unlucky cars in your rearview mirror.
Were you really lucky? Or, did you just risk your own life in order simply to make it to your destination a few minutes early?
The truth is, the majority of us have tried to beat a train before because we were too impatient to wait. Although railroad crossing accidents have declined over the last 10 years, the number of train accident fatalities have spiked – especially since 2014. Last year there were an estimated 232 people who died in railroad crossing accidents. Additionally, approximately every 3 hours a person or car was hit by an oncoming train in the United States.
Due to the alarming statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have joined forces to spread awareness regarding railroad safety. The effort has since released a $7 million campaign called, “Stop! Trains Can’t!” which hopes to reduce the number of train accidents and fatalities nationwide.
The Stop! Trains Can’t! campaign is trying to reach everyone, but it’s primarily focused on males ages 18-49 within the geographic regions where the 15 most dangerous train crossings are located. Studies found that males within this age range, along with those specific train crossing locations need the most education when it comes to railroad safety. The Stop! Trains Can’t! ads will run in Georgia – one of the most dangerous states for railroad accidents and train fatalities.
Although many drivers believe that they can “chance” it and beat the train, the Federal Railroad Administration has laws in place to ensure safety for both drivers and trains. By law, trains always have the right of way because they are unable to swerve, stop or change directions to avoid a collision.
So the next time you hear the distinct sound of a train or spot it in the distance, don’t risk your life by trying to save a couple of minutes. As the FRA has said, “this is an old problem, but can be easily prevented.” Stop and wait–it can make all the difference!
For more information on this article, contact Kaine Law.