Preventing Railroad Accidents in Minnesota

While most people do not usually think about train accidents when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle, the truth is that these incidents happen more often than people realize. In a train versus vehicle collision, drivers and passengers are usually going to sustain severe injuries. At Knutson+Casey we want all drivers to operate safely, and here we offer tips to help prevent railroad incidents at Minnesota.

Factors and Effects of Railroad Accidents

Thousands of people are involved in railroad accidents every year. According to the National Safety Council, there were 841 total railroad deaths in 2018, which was an increase of more than 2% from the 2017 total and the highest fatality rate since 2007. The NSC says that there were more than 8,000 non-fatal railroad injuries during the same year.

Crashes involving trains and vehicles are largely preventable. Unfortunately, some of the main causes of railroad accidents involve driver error. This can include:

  • failure to yield the right of way
  • disregard of a traffic control device
  • improper turns
  • inattention
  • impatience

It is not uncommon for a railroad versus vehicle accident to result in severe injuries for drivers and passengers inside the vehicles involved. Some common injuries in these cases include:

  • spinal cord injuries
  • traumatic brain injuries
  • broken and dislocated bones
  • amputations or crush injuries

Unfortunately, vehicle drivers and passengers are often killed in incidents involving trains. Those who do survive often suffer from immense emotional and psychological trauma, aside from their physical injuries.

Minnesota Rail Safety Tips

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has shared the following rail safety tips for drivers:

  • Yield the right of way to trains at roadway-rail crossings.
  • Never drive around lowered crossing arms.
  • Do not race a train to the crossing.
  • Always expect a train to be on the tracks at any time, as trains do not follow set schedules.
  • Watch out for a second train when crossing multiple tracks.
  • Get out of your vehicle if the vehicle gets stalled on a railroad track. Get clear of the tracks and dial 911.
  • Always stop your vehicle behind the white line when crossing arms are down or when lights are flashing to signal that a train is coming. Wait for the crossing arms to rise and for lights to stop flashing, look both ways, then proceed with caution.

The Minnesota DOT says that pedestrians and bicyclists must also be careful when crossing railroad tracks, and only cross in designated areas. Walking on railroad tracks is illegal in Minnesota.

A fully loaded freight train that is moving at 50 mph requires 1.5 miles to come to a full stop. By the time a train operator sees a pedestrian or vehicle on the tracks, it is usually too late to stop the train in time to avoid a collision.

Consult a Mankato Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident involving a train in Minnesota, contact the team at Knutson+Casey today. Our qualified and experienced attorneys will get to work investigating the incident in order to secure any compensation you may be entitled to. This could include coverage of all accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. When you need a Minnesota railroad accident attorney, you can contact us online for a free consultation, or call us at (507) 344-8888.

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