Car accidents may be more common than train accidents, but both can lead to devastating loss. The force of a train accident is frequently fatal. Trains use extremely powerful engines to move heavy freight, which means that they are also difficult to stop in an emergency.
Washington state reports that there have been 5 train accident fatalities so far this year, 3 of which took place in Seattle. In 2017, 29 people suffered lethal train accidents. These incidents happened both at designated crossings and other areas along the rail.
2018 does not have to contain as many train accidents as 2017. Instead, this could be the year that drivers and pedestrians start to take extra caution around railroads to prevent accidents whenever possible.
Ways to stay safe around railroads include:
- Wait to bike or walk across a rail crossing until you see both sides clear
- Do not rely on hearing the train coming
- Slow down when approaching rail crossings, especially in inclement weather
- Never assume you can outpace an incoming train
- Obey all traffic signals at crossings
- Do not walk along the tracks, which is illegal trespassing – even for photoshoots
- If walking near the tracks, keep a safe distance (at least fifteen feet) from the rails
These victims are beloved children, dutiful spouses, family providers and admired community members. In tragedies like these, their loved ones may pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf. In some cases, a regulation or traffic signal was missing from the equation. Although a lawsuit can never restore what was lost, family members often find justice and support through the legal system.