When you live somewhere long enough you become a local. When you’re a local you know of great spots to eat, to hangout and shortcuts around town. A local Longwood, Florida (FL) man tried to take one such shortcut while on his way to pick up a pizza. Unfortunately this shortcut was across railroad tracks and the truck was struck by an Amtrak train and the driver died. Witnesses at the scene said the driver did not try to cross the stop arms to beat the train. Instead he crossed behind a parking lot that is adjacent to the train tracks where there is a small ditch and no fence. This dangerous spot is where people routinely cut across to get to a strip mall across the other side of the tracks. There is a bend so it would have been impossible to see the train coming until it was too late.
Railroad crossing accidents involving a train and a car or truck can have devastating consequences, especially for the driver and passenger(s) in the car. Thousands of people are killed or suffer very serious injuries every year in the U.S. because of these types of accidents. In fact, the Federal Railroad Administration estimates that cars and trains collide with each other every 12 minutes leading to a total of 9,570 train incidents/accidents in 2009.
As experienced railroad accident injury attorneys we know that even when people cross at designated train crossings safety is not guaranteed. There is a book called the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and another set of standards is issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). These publications have details relating to the sight lines that should be available to a motorist approaching a railroad crossing, along with a number of other variables that must be followed, based on traffic and other factors. However this is not always the case.