From a lawyer’s viewpoint, the safest train grade crossing would be no crossing at all. Highway rail grade crossings are unsafe to both pedestrians and to vehicles. Most recently [Feb. 3, 2015], there was a train grade crossing accident in Valhalla, New York involving a six fatalities and 15 other persons injured. See information from the National Transportation Safety Board and findings:Click here
While grade crossing warning devices are helpful, they are not able to prevent all accidents. The stopping distance for trains, particularly those with a great number of cars and locomotive, is very long. Grade crossing safety improvements are needed at many intersections but not currently implemented. These safety improvements include updating existing active warning devices and signals at grade crossings, mitigating deficient crossings, improved warning systems for vehicles and pedestrians. Also helpful is community information programs about the dangers of on-grade train crossings.
New York State Department of Transportation publishes information on rail safety for grade crossings. This can be found at: Click here
See also NTSB Safety Study:Click here
Early investigation as to the main causes and contributing causes of highway-grade rail accidents is essential. Also important are the number to complaints given to the rail line prior to any crash or injury.
If you or someone you know is injured at a highway-rail grade crossing, either as pedestrian, vehicle driver or occupant, you should contact your attorney to obtain as much information as you can. Don’t wait……Early contact with an attorney is usually beneficial to clients.