Deco asked in Cars & TransportationRail · 1 decade ago

How can railroad crossing collisions be reduced or even eliminated?

How can the rail industry and state highway departments improve safety initiatives at railroad crossings?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Billions and Billions of dollars !!! Hydraulically raised walls that replace the crossing arms ??

    Crossing guards and cameras at every grade-crossing along with $5000 fines and 90 day suspension of the license for each and every vehicle or person that crosses the tracks against a signal ?? Heck, you could hire the hundreds of thousands of unemployed !!

    Total separation of track from the roads and highways ???

    Can I come up with other silly ideas ???

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  • 1 decade ago

    I am convinced in large part that overall, your average, everyday schnooks are uninformed. Were it otherwise the general public would be less inclined to get themselves into a situation where death or great bodily harm is in the offing. It would also mean that fewer questions with regard to grade crossing safety, or lack thereof, would be posted here.

    Statistics indicate that where Operation Lifesaver programs have been produced, injuries and fatalities have declined. But, this is largely a volunteer program relying on generosity for the programs to be presented.

    As a parent, or as an employer where employees were going to be around moving equipment, I would make sure the ones who have been entrusted with the education of my child have railroad safety as a part of the curriculum each year right up through grade 12, and that employees received similar education.

    Go to a PTA meeting or a school open house and find out whether there is a program(s) dealing with these varying issues. This is even more imperative if children coming from or going to school must cross any tracks to get there.

    But, you can't legislate common sense and as a result, people circumvent crossing protection everywhere. I can scarcely remember a trip where at least one car didn't go around a lowered crossing gate (stupidity is just nature's way of thinnin' the herd).

    As a practical matter, as long as people are willing to show disregard for their own safety, I don't see how they could be made much safer. But, there can be incentives for obeying the law. A camera mounted with the rest of the safety hardware that'll catch a driver's face and license number whenever they roll the dice would go a long way towards better compliance. In California, the penalty for going around the gates is nearly the same as it is for a first time drunk driving arrest, if caught. Understand that the danger is to everyone around whenever an idiot makes his ill advised move, since a collision with a vehicle can result in a catastrophic derailment involving some rather nasty cargo.

    Failing that, the carnage will continue.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Look at the safety records of the TGV in France. I bet you do not find any railroad crossing accident farther than a few miles from the main stations like in Paris.

    That is because there are no level crossings on any dedicated TGV track.

    I live in a country (Netherlands) where most level crossings have bars and lights. And while there are not as many accidents there as there are on the crossings with just lights, there are still enough.

    Often people who think they can beat the train, or who have stopped on a crossing in a traffic jam or because of a breakdown, and find they can not move when the bars come down.

    We have nearly no crossings of rail and road without lights. The few that are there require from the train to slow down to 5 km/h and have a man with a flag walk in front of the train. Yes, I have seen it happen, about twice in my life. On private ground, (big industrial estates) where train track and road are owned by the company that owns the estate there are unguarded level crossings and there accidents do happen.

    We used to have full length bars in the past but they replaced all of those with half bars, (only over the right side of the road,) as people/cars got caught between the full bars when those came down.

    The railroad people try to replace all level crossings with tunnels or bridges, at least as many as possible. But the bike riders, (push bikes) try to keep some level crossings as the tunneled crossings are rarer and require many miles/km extra on simple, short journeys.

    By the way, all our passenger train tracks have trains running at least once every hour each direction, common is each 30 minutes during daytime, each direction.

    Freight trains are less regular but often not less frequent, and mostly share the same tracks.

    Source(s): I am Dutch, my own experience in my home country, and in France where I have been many times.
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  • Cubby
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    They have done just about everything they can. Other than making the highway an underpass.

    It's the inattention of the drivers of the cars, trucks, whatever that causes the accidents including cell phones.

    The highway depts and railroads put up gates and the people drive around them or through them to beat the train to the crossing. That's just plain stupid.

    It takes at least a mile for a train to stop when it is going 60 mph.

    It takes a car a little over 300 feet.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The only 100% effective safety device is alert attentive drivers.

    Gates, lights, bells, whistles would all be unnecessary of drivers would accept the responsibility for the safety of themselves and their passengers.

    Why would anyone rely on mechanical devices? Crossing protection can and occassionally does fail. Train horns can be plugged by snow, not all train movements have a locomotive at the headend, every train/auto collision could have been prevented by alert attentive drivers, and guess how much those cost . . . . . $0.00.

    but . . . . . In the real world, the only thing that works is elimintating crossings completely by going over or under tracks, people will find a way to get themselves killed no matter what kind of protection is installed.

    Source(s): RR engineer, been involved in fatalities
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    For all who advocate better barrier systems --

    On the CN tracks crossing Route 136 in McLean IL; they have "drop down" whole road barriers.

    Do they work? They stopped a semi loaded with steel that was doing 60 mph [luckily the driver ducked -- wouldn't want to be hit with 60mph steel]

    Better education is the key, so in the meantime, for those fools that think their miserable insignificant lives are too important to wait for a train to cross: Let's change the penalty for the first offense to loss of your driving privileges temporarily -- how 'bout getting them back as they are lowering your carcass 6 feet under?

    Or how about community service? Have them go out and help pick up the pieces of another fool that jumped the gates? I'll wager that will stop some of them.

    [sounds of an old person climbing down from the soapbox]

    Source(s): Have the "honor" of being one of those people who get paid to "pick up the pieces." Getting ready to retire from it; I'm missing my sons grow up -- you can bet they won't jump the gun on the crossings!
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  • 1 decade ago

    The only way to eliminate it is to have trains and cars never cross paths. Which is possible, but expensive enough that it's not likely to happen.

    Next best thing is to train all drivers to NOT enter a crossing unless and until they have room enough to clear the crossing if a train should happen to come. That is the cause of most accidents, with or without lights and gates.

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  • Petero
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Really only two ways to achieve it.

    1. Put barriers/gates and lights at every crossing.

    2. Have the barriers/gates extend over the complete road!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Putting lights and gates at every crossing is not really practical. The best thing to do is to better educate the public about obeying the law and not running crossings.

    Source(s): Me, locomotive engineer.
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  • 1 decade ago

    By getting stupid people to understand that when the lights are flashing or the gate is down, you shouldn't try to "beat the train". And if you can't get completely clear of the tracks because of traffic, don't try to squeeze over.

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