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Florida railroad crossing accidents a frequent tragedy; state ordered to improve safety

Florida has been ordered to improve safety at railroad crossings as the number of Florida train accidents ranks the state among the 10 worst in the nation, the Federal Railroad Administration reports.

The states targeted are Florida, Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas. Nearly 4,200 crossing accidents occurred in those states from 2006-2008, or just over half of the railroad crossing accidents that occurred nationwide.

Florida railroad accidents killed 29 people in 2009. Nationwide, about 14,000 train accidents occur each year, claiming more than 875 lives and injuring about 10,000 motorists. Each year, Florida train accidents kill an average of 45 people and injure more than 200.

More than 100 accidents occur each year at Florida railroad crossings, according to federal statistics. And the Florida Highway Patrol reports those figures are much higher. The patrol reports almost 3,000 crossing accidents occurred in 2006, killing 362 people and seriously injuring 999.

Some states argued the mandate to target states with the most railroad crossing accidents did not take into account the number of crossings or the amount of traffic and that a better measure would have been to target state with the most accidents per-vehicle traveling through railroad crossing. The Railroad Administration rejected that approach.

The states must submit a plan by August 2011, detailing how problems will be identified and solved at crossings. Solutions could include adding lights to crossings with gates, closing crossings, or building bridges over tracks.

Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping motorists who have been injured in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.

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