Fort Worth residents have been expressing concern about car accidents caused by drivers who try to “beat” the Trinity Railway Express through the rail crossings. Earlier this month, a crash happened when a pickup truck attempted to cross Carson Street in front of a Trinity Express train. Fortunately the driver escaped with injuries that were not considered life threatening. However, not all drivers are so lucky. Jjust this October, two people were killed in car collisions with trains there. Although no train passengers were injured as a result, the crashes resulted in major delays.
Trinity Railway Express officials cannot account for the increase in accidents, as nothing has changed about the way they run the train service. Each of the 38 crossings along the 35 miles of track has a crossing arm that should prevent drivers from crossing. At one crossing where a driver was killed, the Trinity Railway Express has five crossing arms due to the fact that roads approach the crossing at sharp angles. An extra crossing gate had been installed prior to the accident so that drivers could see the warnings of an oncoming train from any direction.
Part of the problem may be due to driver confusion, but some can be attributed to a “Russian roulette” mentality that has drivers thinking that they can outrace a train and survive. One long-time resident notes that for years, drivers and pedestrians have sought to beat the train, frequently with tragic results. He notes that if they waited, they would find that it does not take long for the train to pass. Every time a crossing arm lowers, it is accompanied by a red light, which has the same purpose as a traffic red light, to stop oncoming traffic. Observers noted that those who went around crossing arms to beat the train would have ignored the red light.
Here’s a sad statistic: Texas leads the nation in the number of car collisions with trains, with an estimated 227 in 2012, while the second-highest number was in California with 122. However, California leads in the number of fatalities caused by collisions with trains — 39 to 35.
It is always possible that there was a malfunction that prevented the crossing arms or traffic lights from working properly, which is why each accident needs to be carefully investigated before fault is assigned. If it is the fault of whoever maintains the tracks and signals, then the injured party or the deceased person’s estate could always file a lawsuit against those responsible. However, if the injury or death was caused by driver carelessness, then the injured passenger, or the deceased passenger’s family, could bring a lawsuit against the driver, claiming that the driver’s unreasonable behavior was the cause of the passenger’s injury or death. If you live in Fort Worth and were injured in a car accident, contact a Fort Worth car accident attorney today.
Bill Berenson has been representing Texans injured in accidents for more than 30 years. Located in Fort Worth, Texas, he represents clients seriously injured by accidents involving cars, trucks, and motorcycles. If you want a Board Certified personal injury specialist who will provide you with compassionate legal representation, contact him today to schedule a free initial consultation.