Recently, our Chicago auto accident lawyers read a news report detailing a railroad safety initiative that has been implemented by the Western Springs Police Department. According to the article, posted on WesternSprings.Patch.com, the campaign, entitled “Police on Board for Rail Safety” will begin its sixth year commencing May 1. The annual event involves a two-part initiative to promote railroad safety through accident and collision prevention, as well as, avoiding violations. The first part of the event will take place at the Western Springs Train Station where members will hand out train-safety information.
The second part of the initiative will transpire on May 8 when the Western Springs Police Department – along with other local law enforcement agencies – will be “aggressively enforcing” safety laws at the sites of Western Springs’ five vehicle and/or pedestrian crossings. In continuing with last year’s tradition, the Western Springs Police Department will not take punitive action during their enforcement. However, the police department will take the time to educate the local public on railway-safety.
According to the news report, the Western Springs Police Department released a study citing information obtained by the Illinois Commerce Commission in which it was revealed that the state of Illinois sees approximately 80 railroad-related fatalities each and every year. Of that number, our Chicago accident lawyers learned that roughly 50 percent of collisions between motor vehicles and trains occur at marked crossings with warning signals.
Additional statistics provided by the United States Department of Transportation further highlight the severity of collisions between trains and motor vehicles. It has been uncovered that there are approximately 5,800 vehicle-train collisions each year in the United States with a majority of the accidents transpiring at railroad crossings. These tragic accidents cause roughly 600 fatalities and result in approximately 2,300 injuries.
A study conducted by the United States Department of Transportation found that more than 50% of all fatal accidents transpire at railroad crossings that maintain inactive or insufficient safety devices. Supplementary research discovered that during the day time hours, roughly 75% of motor vehicle-train collisions involve the train striking the motor vehicle. All the while, during the night-time hours, approximately 50% of collisions transpire as a result of a car colliding into a train due to an inadequately marking railroad crossing.
With the continued number of deaths resulting from motor vehicle-train collisions, our Chicago car accident lawyers continue to urge drivers of all types of vehicles to operate in a safe and cautious manner to avoid any potential accident resulting in severe personal injury or even premature fatality.