Just weeks after the Federal Railroad Administration ranked Florida among the ten worst states for train accidents at railroad crossings, a 34-year-old Edgewater man was struck and killed by a Florida East Coast Railroad freight train, according to a New Smyrna Beach media report.
In 2009 alone, Florida railways accidents included 48 crossing collisions that left 10 dead and 19 injured. Another 19 were killed and 8 injured in trespass incidents, according to the non-profit railway safety organization Operation Lifesaver.
According to the National Safety Commission, there are a handful of causes that frequently contribute to railroad crossing accidents.
First, trains look like they are moving slower than they really are which can lead a driver or pedestrian into making a judgment error when approaching a railroad crossing.
Second, trains are big and heavy. So even if they are traveling at a relatively slow rate of speed – say about 35 mph – they still pack close to a million tons of force.
Third, it takes about 1.5 miles to bring a freight train to a complete stop, and with only about half of public rail crossings controlled by electronic signals, and many private crossing unmarked and without any signaling, a distracted driver may, quite literally, drive onto an active railway and never see the train coming.
The safest rule is the simplest: before crossing any railroad track, assume a train is coming, whether you see or hear one or not.
In cases where a crossing accident occurs, it is important to consult with an experienced Port St. Lucie accident lawyers, or a personal injury or wrongful death attorney in your town. Investigating the cause of the accident is a critical step to protecting the rights of you and your family.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in Florida train accident, South Florida personal injury attorneys at Freeman & Mallard can help you understand your rights and are ready to fight for the compensation required to maintain you and your family’s well being. Call today to schedule a free and confidential review of your case, 1-800-529-2368.