Our Illinois car accident attorneys read about a pedestrian fatality that involved a Metra train in the Chicago suburbs today, posted online by WGNRadio.com. The pedestrian was a teenager, and the train hit him early this morning. Traffic stopped after the accident occurred, and the teen was rushed to the hospital, where he later died from the seriousness of his injuries.
Once we had read this article, we thought that it would be important to remind our readers of some of the safety tips that are related to trains and railroad crossings. The Illinois Commerce Commission has created the Commercial Transportation Law, which, amongst other things, manages crossing safety projects, and makes sure that trains are engineered, and safe for train operators, commuters, pedestrians and cars. In Cook County alone in the last five years, there have been 244 collisions, including 5 pedestrian collisions.
In order to reduce some of these collisions, the ICC has created the Crossing Safety Improvement Program in addition to the Commercial Transportation Law. The program includes ideas such as upgrading warning devices, including the flashing lights that signal gates, with improved circuitry. The program also hopes to create pedestrian grade separations, which would create a bridge that would take bicyclists and pedestrians over and under trains. Other solutions include improving signage at crossings, connecting the lights of the train warning system to traffic lights to make all nearby drivers aware, and using sensors to alert the railroad companies of any failures that may arise.
Other tips that our Chicago auto accident attorneys have mentioned in previous posts include remembering the importance of Stop, Look, Listen. This simple phrase is effective because trains can come suddenly, but looking for them, and most importantly, listening for them in the distance can help to avoid collisions with cars and trains, as well as pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians should always make sure that it is 100% safe to cross train tracks before going near them. If the gate is down, pedestrians should not ignore them by going around them or trying to beat the train, because in some instances this can cause serious injuries and even be life threatening.
With this being said, in addition to the fact that many Chicagoans and commuters use trains on a daily basis to get to and from work and home, our Illinois accident lawyers hope that people will be more conscious of trains before crossing tracks. Looking out for signage can also help to alert people of when they are close to a railroad crossing. Trying to hear the train, as well as looking both ways before crossing clear tracks can be life saving.