In one day, three freight trains derailed. These train accidents in northwest Indiana left a number of vehicles mangled near the railroad crossing and residents in the area had to evacuate because of the smoke, according to ABC NEWS. Two of the six train employees aboard were transported to the hospital after the accident.
One train was carrying mostly empty tankers of ethanol. That train stopped on the tracks when another train slammed into it. According to Porter County Sheriff’s Sgt. Larry LaFlower, a third train on the tracks quickly came up from behind and hit both of the cars. There weren’t any significant leaks reported, but scene is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Our Indiana car accident lawyers understand there were about 50 homes in the area that were evacuated because of the smoke from the accident. The real threat isn’t to the nearby homes, but to the people who travel through the railroad crossings every day. Residents, motorists and train riders are urged to be cautious near railroad crossings as many fatal accidents happen in these areas every year. Railroad crossing accidents, injuries and fatalities are often more catastrophic than other traffic accidents. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were more than 136,000 railroad crossings in the U.S. in 2009. Out of these accidents, more than 42,300 crossings had gates, nearly 22,040 had flashing warning lights and nearly 1,200 have highway traffic signals, bells and wigwags, which are of railroad-grade crossing signal.
In 2009, there were nearly 2,000 accidents at public highway-railroad crossings in the U.S. Of these accidents, there were nearly 250 fatalities and more than 700 injuries. These catastrophic events happen as residents trespass too. These types of accidents are 100 percent preventable. In 2009, there were more than 430 people killed and another 350 injured while trespassing on railroad right-of-way and property.
Although these crossings are lined with gates, flashing lights and bells, drivers still find themselves to be the victims of these types of accidents all too frequently. You can avoid a potentially fatal railroad crossing accident by following a few safety tips from the Federal Highway Administration.
Railroad Crossing Safety Tips for Drivers:
-Always expect a train to be traveling on the tracks. Make sure that you can stop safely.
-Trains often travel faster than you perceive.
-Never rely on a train’s whistle to warn you of its location. Noise on or in your car can cause you to miss the audible warnings.
-Never try to cross the tracks unless you’re positive that you’re able to make it to the other side safely.
-Never change your car’s gears on a train track.
-Be careful of objects that can block your view of an oncoming train.
-Be cautious of the current weather conditions and its ability to hinder your vision.
-Plan your trip to take you through crossings with warning devices instead of unprotected ones.
-Never stop on a train track.
-When stopping for a train to cross, be sure to stay far from the tracks. Trains are wider than the tracks and extend into the roadway.
If you or someone in your family has been injured in a railroad crossing accident in Indiana, call Burton Padove for a free consultation to learn about how to ensure receipt for financial compensation for injuries you or others sustain at 219-836-2200 or 877-446-5294 for nationwide callers.
3 Freight Trains Derail in Indiana, Cars Burn, by Tom Coyne, ABC NEWS
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Make the New Year’s Resolution to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Gary, Indiana Injury And Family Lawyer Blog, January 4, 2012