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Railroad Crossing, Train Accidents Take More Lives in 2010

From 2009 to 2010, "rail fatalities increased from 742 to 813, with the majority at grade crossings, though deaths on light, heavy and commuter rail rose from 229 to 253."

This discouraging statement jumped off the computer screen at me as I skimmed the annual release of National Transportation Safety Board estimates of deaths on U.S. roads, waterways and railroad tracks. NTSB estimates also indicate that more Americans died in traffic accidents involving commercial trucks and motorcycles during 2010. Undoubtedly, some of those semi drivers and bike riders hit trains at intersections where tracks cross streets and highways.

The growth in railroad crossing accidents is particularly worrying to my Carolina train accident attorney colleagues and me because we have spent decades urging rail companies, track owners, state transportation departments and owners of properties where rails cut through driveways and private roads to make crossings safer. Improvements can include gates, better automated signal lights and, where practical, fences to keep pedestrians off tracks.

While no safety measures will completely prevent all accidents at railroad crossings, every company, government official, driver and pedestrian needs to all things possible to decrease the possiblity of collisions at crossings and on tracks.

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