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Accident Highlights Tennessee Railroad Crossing Safety

On April 2, 2013, the Journal Express reported that a woman and three children were involved in an accident with a train. Two of the children were killed in the accident and the surviving child is fighting for his life.

Our Knoxville accident attorneys know that train accidents are often fatal due to the tremendous size of the train and the force at which the train can hit. It is important that crossing equipment around trains be kept in good working order and that drivers and pedestrians behave in a smart and safe manner when they approach train tracks.

The Batavia Train Accident
According to the Journal Express, a state patrol officer indicated that the woman involved in the accident drove around the stop arms at the railroad tracks at shortly after 6:00 P.M. When the woman entered the tracks, her mini van was hit by a train that was headed west.

There were three children in the van at the time when the accident occurred, although law enforcement has not confirmed that the van driver was the mother of the children. Two of the children, ages 5 and 4, were killed, and the 2-year-old child and the 25-year-old driver were both being treated at a nearby hospital at the time of the article.

The Journal Express also reports that the investigation into how the accident happened is ongoing. The officer interviewed said that he believed everything was working at the time of the crash, including the horns and stop arms signifying the approach of a train. Further, he indicates that there was a train on one of the other tracks.

However, while this may be the case, it is advisable for the parties involved to conduct an independent investigation to ensure that the truth is discovered. The fact is that the railroad infrastructure throughout the United States is aging. Numerous states are under federal mandate to improve railroad crossing safety. Far too many crossings are unarmed. When warning systems do exist, they are often antiquated or inadequate.

If equipment fails, even once, at a train track, then someone could get seriously hurt. In this case, for example, the young woman driver with three children in the van might not have even been aware that a train was coming if the warning system malfunctioned. This is particularly true at night or when visibility is otherwise reduced.

Staying Safe at Train Tracks
The warning systems, including stop arms and auditory warnings, are the keys to preventing train accidents. Drivers should also be cautious when approaching a train track and should stop several feet back from the track and out of the way when a train is approaching.

By steering clear of train tracks, never stopping on the track, and looking both ways carefully before crossing train tracks, drivers can do their part to prevent becoming involved in a serious accident.

If you are hurt in an accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. at (865) 524-5657.

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