A Chicago area car collision with a Metra train claimed the lives of two elderly women from Tinley Park. The Chicago Tribune reports that the deadly accident occurred when their vehicle crashed through warning gates and ran into the side of the Metra Rock Island Line train headed towards Chicago. The car was drug by the fast moving train for several hundred feet before coming to a stop. Emergency responders commented on the severity of the accident, noting that it was one of the worst car-train accidents in the area in recent times.
The circumstances surrounding the crash are still unknown. According to the report, Metra will perform a detailed investigation to ensure that the train and all safety warning signals and devices were properly working at the time of the crash. They can gather much of this information through the train’s event recorder, similar to a black box on an airplane.
Chicago train accidents are a common occurrence due to the large number of trains operating in our area. In addition to freight trains, our rail lines also transport travelers, locals and commuters through the Amtrak and Metra lines, and CTA. Because of this large volume of rail traffic, accidents are inevitable, but our Chicago personal injury attorneys know that many of the crashes between vehicles and trains are avoidable.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s most recent statistics on train crashes, in 2009, 11 people were killed in accidents involving trains and cars, and 30 more were injured. Drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians should always operate with caution when approaching or crossing a railroad track. Trains are fast moving, and accidents are often caused because of driver negligence or impatience. Many people believe they can beat a train by crossing in front before the train approaches. This dangerous practice leads to a number of serious collisions. Additionally, some drivers miss or ignore signals altogether, especially at crossings where a mechanical gates do not exist.
As with any system, from time to time train signal systems malfunction or do not work properly. This could lead to warning lights or gates not working at a train crossing. When this occurs and a vehicle collides with a moving train, the consequences can be deadly. In cases like this where warning signals are defective, injured victims and the families of those wrongfully killed can take legal action against the entities that own and operate the railways to hold wrongdoers accountable.
From the reports out right now, it sounds like this tragic accident could be a case of driver error, however the true facts of the case will not be known until a full investigation is completed. Whatever the cause, our Chicago accident lawyers hope that this accident serves as a warning to all drivers to pay careful attention and always practice safe driving when operating your vehicle around Illinois’ rail lines.