There has been a wave of railroad accidents in the North Carolina (NC) area. In response, the N.C. Department of Transportation issued a statement reminding automobile operators and pedestrians about exercising caution while at railroad crossings.
The Department of Transportation stated that it can take up to 1.5 miles for a train to come to a complete stop after the conductor applies the brakes. They also listed other safety guidelines. For example, they reminded motorists to never race a train to a crossing, never try to drive around the crossing gates, never walk or ride a bike on the railroad tracks, and so forth.
The safety guidelines provided by the Department of Transportation are good and should be followed, but they wholly neglect the risk of careless train conductors. Most railroads set forth a maximum speed for a train to travel. Some conductors throw caution to the wind and operate the train at higher-than-allowed speeds. In addition, federal regulations may apply to govern when a horn and whistle must be blasted at a public railroad crossing. There are also regulations that apply with regard to the maintenance of trees, shrubs and vegetation at a railroad crossing.
These facts are listed to show you that, if a serious railroad crossing accident occurs, it is not always the fault of the motorist or pedestrian. Our firm published an in-depth legal article about railroad crossing accidents and railroad liability. Read it here.