Faulty Warning System Reportedly Causes Railroad Crossing Accident in Huntsville

A recent railroad crossing accident in Huntsville left one injured. The accident was between a railroad maintenance vehicle and a pickup truck at the crossing near Jordan Road and Moores Mill Road.

Huntsville police report that that the occupant of the rail maintenance vehicle, owned by the North Alabama Railroad Museum, was injured in the accident. According to Sgt. Clay Warmbrod, both vehicles were railroad vehicles and both had to be towed from the scene. Both were heading to the museum when the crash happened.

It all happened just before 10:30 a.m. as a pickup truck was heading south and was hit by the railroad vehicle and tow-vehicle, which were operating on the tracks. A man in the railroad vehicle was ejected during the collision. He is currently in the Huntsville Hospital and was last listed in serious condition. According to Alabama Live, the warning lights at the railroad crossing were not on or working when the accident happened.The vehicle that was hit in the accident is referred to as a “speeder.” It’s used to maintain the tracks and right of way, said Hugh Dudley with the North Alabama Railroad Museum. It had broken down and was being towed back to the museum. Dudley also confirmed that the warning lights at this railroad crossing do not work.

Warning devices at railroad crossings are there to help to eliminate the risks of these kinds of accidents. Unfortunately, there are thousands of accidents that happen at these kinds of crossings each and every year. In most cases, it’s a train that slams into a passenger vehicle crossing the tracks, with devastating results.

When approaching a railroad crossing, drivers are to yield appropriately to the right of way. It’s just like approaching a highway intersection. The only difference here is that the opposing traffic, or the train, must only rarely yield the right of way to the other motor vehicle. That’s because it’s virtually impossible. Drivers like you and I have the ability to steer and to brake somewhat easily. Trains can’t alter their path or stop as easily. Train operators are restricted to moving their trains down a fixed path, and changes in speed can only be accomplished much more slowly. For this reason, motorists must be on the lookout when approaching these areas.

And accidents at railroad crossings are an ongoing risk as the railroad infrastructure ages. In 2009, there were nearly 10,000 train accidents. There were nearly 650 people killed and another 7,000 injured in these accidents. More than 95 percent of these accidents happened at either highway-rail crossings or during trespassing. There were more than 220 accidents that involved a motor vehicle and a train. In these incidents, more than 190 were killed.

Unfortunately, track defects and faulty warning systems are some of the top causes for these kinds of accidents. With the lack in funding, most rail companies don’t renovate tracks that need attention until it’s too late — or until after a major accident happens.

Call Allred & Allred P.C. at 334.396.9200 to speak with a personal injury lawyer today.

Additional Resources:

Truck and railroad vehicle collide near Moores Mill Road; one injured, by Keith Clines, Alabama Live
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