Federal statistics on railroad crossing incidents paint a bleak picture – at least one pedestrian or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours in the U.S., reports the Federal Railroad Administration. Even worse is the fact that nearly all of these injuries and deaths are entirely preventable. In an effort to curb railroad crossing accidents, the Department of Transportation (DOT) kicked off a new safety ad campaign earlier this month with a startling video that depicts a freight train slamming into the side of a sports utility vehicle that is on the tracks. The train’s engineer applies the brakes to no avail, as the locomotive drags the SUV along the tracks.
The message, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx: “Too many people are still taking unnecessary risks and needlessly paying with their lives.” The video is a stark reminder of the deadly ramifications for those who ignore warning signs at railroad crossings or try and beat a train.
Railroad crossing ad safety campaign
The ad campaign is aptly titled, “Stop. Trains Can’t.” A collaboration between the Federal Railroad Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the campaign’s main focus is educating drivers about railroad crossing dangers and keeping families safe. A train always has the right of way, and while it may seem harmless to ignore crossing signs, the consequences are not. FRA authorities say that it takes a train traveling 55 mph a full mile to come to stop after applying the emergency brake. In 2016 alone, some 232 people died in railroad crossing accidents. With hope, this new safety campaign — which is set to run in Louisiana and other states with high accident and fatality rates – will help improve awareness and prevent needless deaths.
The government has invested $7 million in media ads, as part of a two-year effort to reduce accidents at train crossing around the nation. The ads will target men between the ages of 18 and 49 in states with the most hazardous crossings and highest accident rates. Authorities caution that young male drivers are involved in a staggering 75 percent of all rail crossing accidents.
NHTSA authorities remind motorists that trying to outrun a freight train isn’t worth the risk, and a mistake that may cost your life.
The following railroad crossing statistics are another eye opener:
- More than 90 percent of railroad crossing fatalities involve drivers trying to beat a train, or pedestrians trespassing on railroad tracks
- More than half of all railroad crossing accident victims were impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident
- Louisiana, according to the FRA, is fourth in the country for the number of railroad crossing deaths
Legal assistance in Louisiana
As part of the program, public service announcements and ads have been running on TV and radio stations across Louisiana, and railroad intersections will be monitored by law enforcement for additional safety.
As a Louisiana resident and veteran personal injury lawyer, Bart Bernard supports any initiative aimed at reducing accidents and preventable loss of life. If you or someone you care about was involved in a railroad crossing accident, whether as a train passenger, pedestrian or vehicle driver, it’s important to protect your legal rights.
Call 1-888-GET-BART to arrange a free and confidential consultation today.
Additional Railroad Crossing Ad Safety Campaign Resources:
- NHTSA, DOT Launches New Railroad Crossing Safety Ad Campaign https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/dot-launches-new-railroad-crossing-safety-ad-campaign
- Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. DOT Launches New Railroad Crossing Safety Ad https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L18522