A train accident in Illinois took the lives of two elderly women earlier this week. The two women had just dropped off a friend before their car slammed through the crossing gates near 167th Street and Central Avenue, according to the Chicago Tribune. The seven-car train plowed into the vehicle and pushed it along the tracks for several hundred feet. The lead car eventually derailed but remained upright. The train was traveling at speeds of up to 96kph when the incident occurred.
There were 89 people aboard the train at the time of the accident. Seven were taken to various local hospitals with minor injuries. A number of passengers credited the driver with keeping the entire train from derailing. According to Metra officials, the track was bent as a result of the accident. It will have to undergo repairs before train services can resume. National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway says that federal officials have already been notified of the accident and are currently investigating the cause.
As we recently reported on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, Illinois is one of 10 states that has been ordered by the federal government to develop additional safety measures to reduce the number of fatal accidents that occur at railroad crossings. Neglecting to develop these new safety measures can result in a loss of funding.
Since 2006, Illinois has witnessed nearly 600 grade-crossing accidents involving trains, vehicles and/or pedestrians. These accidents have resulted in nearly 100 deaths. These statistics land Illinois at second place for the highest number of rail-crossing accidents in the nation.
In our state, roughly a quarter of all fatal train accidents have occurred at crossings with gates. About 75 percent of fatal train accents happened at crossings that have other types of traffic control devices, like signs and flashing lights.
Follow these safety tips to help prevent a collision at a railroad crossing:
-Never drive around gates that have been lowered. Not only is it illegal, but it can be deadly.
-Never race a train to the crossing.
-Only go through a crossing if you’re sure you can safely cross the entire track.
-If your vehicle gets stuck on the tracks at a crossing, call your local law enforcement agency for assistance. You should only try to restart if you can post lookouts to warn of approaching trains.
-Be on the lookout for a second train when crossing multiple tracks.
-You should always expect a train on the track. Trains do not follow set schedules.
-Never ignore safety devices like lights, gates and bells.
-Only cross tracks at designated roadway crossings.
The Federal Highway Administration reports that there were nearly 2,000 incidents at public highway-rail crossings in the United States in 2009. These incidents resulted in nearly 250 deaths and more than 700 injuries. About 75 percent of these incidents happened during daytime hours.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago accident lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
More Blog Entries:
Fewer Chicago car accidents contribute to historic statewide reduction; nearly 250 a day still injured in Illinois car accidents , Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 22, 2010
Chicago railroad crossing accidents in focus as Illinois under federal mandate to improve safety , Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 9, 2010