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Awareness grows for railroad accidents at crossings

As city streets and highways become more crowded, drivers may forget about the existence of railroads until a passing train stops traffic and makes them wait. The fast pace of society may make this wait seem much longer than it actually is, and sometimes impatience can cause a driver to take deadly chances. In Connecticut and across the country, safety advocates are trying to make drivers more aware of the dangers of railroad accidents at crossings.

Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a nationwide organization promoting railway safety, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. As part of its celebration, the organization is partnering with the Federal Highway Administration and other federal agencies as well as states and railroad companies to launch the first Rail Safety Week this fall. Railroad workers and frequent commuter train passengers may be especially supportive of this effort since they risk injury many times a day passing train crossings.

Statistics show that a person or vehicle is struck by a train every three hours despite the 83 percent drop in intersection collisions over the past 40 years. Officials believe educating the public about using caution and common sense at railroad crossings may reduce those numbers even more. However, exercising caution at intersections may be only part of the equation.

For example, if signals or warnings are not working properly, Connecticut drivers may not realize it is unsafe to cross the tracks. Similarly, some crossings are notorious for accidents because the view of the track may be blocked by buildings or other parked trains. When these railroad accidents occur, not only do motor vehicle drivers risk injury, but rail workers and train passengers may suffer as well. Following such events, victims have every right to contact an attorney with extensive experience in the unique aspects of railroad law.

Source: progressiverailroading.com, "Operation Lifesaver announces first national Rail Safety Week", March 3, 2017

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