Chesapeake, VA Personal Injury Attorney Reports: Kentucky Teen Killed at Norfolk Southern Track Crossing That Lacks Gates

Posted on Oct 25, 2011

A 19-year-old appears to have been temporarily blinded by the sun before driving into the path of a freight train and losing her life at a railroad crossing just outside of Harrodsburg, Kentucky (KY). The fatal collision occurred October 16, 2011, along tracks owned by Norfolk Southern.

Television station Lex18 reported that the crossing where the teenager was killed has flashing warning lights to alert drivers and pedestrians that trains are approaching the grade crossing with Bohon Road/State Highway 390. There are no gates, however, and officials could not immediately determine whether the warning lights were operating correctly at the time of the crash.

The victim's mother has called on Norfolk Southern to improve safety at all crossings, particularly by ensuring that arms that lower automaticcaly lower when trains are coming get installed. NS has responded that Kentucky's state transportation department has responsibility for constructing crossing gates at the Bohon Road site.

As a personal injury attorney who practices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC) and who has represented several victims of rail accidents at poorly marked and controlled train crossings, I'll add my voce to those asking NS, transportation agencies and any companies or landowners who have responsibility for ensuring safety at track crossings to install gates.

Gates are not guaranteed to keep drivers, bike riders and pedestrians off tracks, but data compiled by the Federal Highway Administration indicate that gates prevent more than 8 times as many grade crossing deaths as do stop signs. And preventing crossing collisions protects train crews as well as members of the public, a point NS would benefit from acknowledging rather than shrugging off responsibility from improving crossing safety.

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