Virginia and North Carolina have thousands of railroad crossings. Many of them are in remote rural areas and are lacking safety features. We also see Hampton Roads railroad crossing accidents.
Cities such as Norfolk and Portsmouth have many urban crossings across railroads where trains shuttle commodities back and forth to the ports. There are also crossings in Newport News, Suffolk, and Williamsburg.
Every year, we see incidents at crossings. They could be narrow escapes in which cars suffer damage from trains or serious incidents like the crash in Valhalla, New York, in which a Metro North train hit an SUV on the tracks killing the SUV driver and five passengers.
An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board into that crash looked at the motives of the woman who stopped on the tracks as well as the design of the crossing.
There are many possible causes for crossing crashes, ranging from negligence of a vehicle or a train driver, to poor crossing design, speeding by a train or equipment malfunction.
Every year, hundreds of people die in crossing accidents. In 2013, there were more than 2,000 railroad crossing accidents that killed 288 people.
Main Causes of Hampton Roads Railroad Crossing Accidents
1 Trying to beat the barriers.
Often when drivers hear lights or alarms sounding at crossings they will try to get across before a train. If you do this you are taking your life in your hands.
2 Drowsiness or inattention
We have seen instances in which truck drivers have failed to heed warnings due to drowsiness and crashed into trains at grade crossings.
3 Malfunctioning crossings
If a crossing has lights and barriers and they fail to work properly, you could end up being involved in a grade crossing accident.
4 Failure to maintain a crossing
We have heard about cases in which cars have become trapped in rails or the design of a crossing has been poor. A failure to cut down vegetation around a crossing can leave a railroad liable for wrecks at a crossing
5 Failure of the Train Operator to Warn of the Train’s Approach
If the engineer fails to sound a horn when approaching a crossing, a railroad could be held liable for a crash.
There are many factors that lead to grade crossing accidents. Always exercise care and never stop on tracks. If you or a loved one has been hit by a train, call our Hampton Roads railroad accident team at (757) 455-0077.