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Fatal Train Accident in Massachusetts Highlights RR Crossing Safety

A 59 year old man was killed on March 12 in Longmeadow, Massachusetts when his work truck was struck at a railroad crossing by an Amtrak plow train. 

PTC could prevent many train derailments and crossing accidents.

The death of the man at the railroad crossing has brought up many worries and complaints from many in the community. Many feel that there should be additional safety features at that railroad crossing, which is in Longmeadow at the crossing on Bernie and Pondside Road.

There is a stop sign at the railroad crossing and a railroad crossing sign. However, residents say the lack of traffic signals or gate arms are a serious danger at the crossing. Most of the other crossings in the area have those safety features.

There have been other ftal crashes at this crossing, and now the Longmeadow town manager is talking about adding those safety measures at the crossing.

He noted that the Department of Public Utilities in Massachusetts has the responsibility and authority to add safety features.

Our View

Safety at railroad crossings has improved substantially over the years. Back in 1981, there were 728 deaths at US railroad crossings. That had fallen to 233 by 2015, despite the substantial growth in the US population.

However, in 2016, the total number of deaths at US railroad crossings climbed to 265. Our railroad accident personal injury attorneys hope that this increase is temporary and is not a trend.

Our railroad accident attorneys have seen in past railroad accident lawsuits that serious personal injuries and deaths can occur at railroad crossings.

It is important to realize that while drivers and pedestrians have responsibility to stop at these crossings, there are many federal regulations in play at railroad crossings, and sometimes one of the stakeholders could be in violation of a law or rule that leads to an unsafe crossing.

Federal regulations, for example, set rules for when a train must blast its horn when approaching a crossing. Federal rules further dictate how trees, shrubs and vegetaation must be cut at a railroad crossing to ensure visibility.

The federal rules for railroad crossings are largely laid out in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and another set of standards is issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA).

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed at a rail road crossing, it is important to understand that railroad crossing accidents are very complex. In the case of personal injury or wrongful death at railroad crossings, we employ retired railroad workers as investigators to get to the bottom of the case.

Many people who are seriously injured or killed at railroad crossings are entitled to substantial financial settlements due to negligence on the part of a stakeholder, such as the railroad or the local authority that maintains the crossing.