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NTSB: Increase Public Awareness Surrounding Rail Accidents

Many of us understand and appreciate the severity and frequency of truck and car accidents. However, it is important to realize that not all dangerous accidents involve a motor vehicle. In fact, many accidents happen on our nation’s railroads, causing serious personal injuries and fatalities to pedestrians and drivers. , Recent studies by the National Transportation Safety Board show that many people do not realize how frequently railroad accidents occur .

According to a post by USA Today, there is not enough public awareness surrounding the dangers of railroad. Recently, individuals testified at the National Transportation Safety Board forum about the gravity of railroad dangers and the frequency of accidents. Last year alone, 1400 people were struck by trains in the United States. According to Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board, too many people do not understand that railroads are not a place for play, exercise, or shortcuts and that too many people do not appreciate the dangers. Another speaker, Arthur Miller, a film industry rail safety expert, elaborated about railroad trespassers and stressed that the “railroad always wins.”

Mark Kalina, Jr., a railroad victim and Operation Lifesaver Volunteer, stressed the dangers of railroads and gave personal testimony about an accident he survived. Now, he works with Operation Lifesaver in efforts to support safety enforcement and awareness. He stressed that people need to stop believing they are invincible and that “it won’t happen to them.” He does this work in hopes that people will not make the same mistake as him. The video also recounted another speaker, Norma Kirby, a locomotive engineer from Amtrak, who talked about the horrors of railroad accidents and stressed that an accident is not just a traumatic event for the victim and the victim’s loved ones, but leaves a long-lasting haunting impact on the engineers and railway workers involved.

Our attorneys applaud these individuals for their efforts to make railroads a safer place by raising safety awareness. By working together toward a common cause, people can make a difference and can save lives. We stand with people who want to make our communities safer, and believe in this cause especially because Chicago is a giant hub for both commercial and commuter trains. Every year, thousands of passenger and freight trains pass through Chicago, whether on the CTA, Metra, Amtrak, or freight trains using Chicago’s tracks as a method to ship and receive goods transnationally. Because of the high volume of trains, railroad accidents are unfortunately very common in Illinois. That is why it is so important to make railroads safer and to encourage people to be educated on the dangers of tracks. Let’s all work together to make our Chicago community safer. When walking by or driving near railroad tracks, make sure to always stay alert and practice safety. When driving or walking, never go around the gates or try to cross when the lights are flashing; this means a train is very near, so you should wait until it is safe to cross. Whether driving or walking, never try to cross the tracks and beat the train; train travels much faster than pedestrians and vehicles and is much larger. Your life is worth much more than a few saved moments.