The FRA defines a quiet zone as "a section of a rail line that contains one or more consecutive public crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded". In plain English, this simply means that there are certain places where railroad tracks cross public highways or roads. However, as a result of an official request from local government (city, county, parish, etc.) authorities, the train horn is not sounded at these crossings.
This does not mean that there are no safety measures in place at these crossings. On the contrary, in order to establish a quiet zone, the officials, with the cooperation and assistance of the FRA, had to put other warning signals as well as traffic barriers such as crossing arms or gates, in order to alert cars that trains are approaching these crossings.
Effective Sept. 1, 2009, a new set of figures was released by the FRA concerning the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold (NSRT) as it applies to quiet zones. It should be noted that these figures are estimates.
Based on the formulas and calculations used by the FRA it is estimated that for 2009 the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold (NSRT) has increased to 18,775. The NSRT for 2008 was 17,610. Again, these figures are estimates and do not mean that these many incidents will occur. However, it is a fact that accidents between trains and cars do happen, and oftentimes serious personal injury or even death is a result.
If you still have questions about train wrecks in North Carolina (NC), you can visit the firm's FAQ library. A free report detailing what to do when enduring a car accident in Virginia (VA) can also be helpful.