Cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and train cars have been co-existing for more than 100 years. And for that long, there has been risk associated with areas where trains and other traffic cross paths. In the past, low-tech methods of keeping people safe at crossings involved a person waving a flag or igniting a lantern.
However, over time, these methods proved ineffective and more sophisticated systems of keeping people safe at railroad crossings continue to be developed. For instance, as noted in this article from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, many high-tech systems could increase the safety at crossings today.
Across the U.S., there are crossings equipped with systems that do things like:
- Monitor real-time activities
- Record incredibly precise data
- Interpret potential obstructions to determine if a train should stop or not
- Assess performance and potential failures of equipment like lights and barriers
- Display LED messages to pedestrians and motorists in the area notifying them of an approaching train
These are all sophisticated - and valuable - tools that not only keep crossings safer, they can potentially anticipate and prevent accidents from ever occurring. In the event that an accident does occur, they can provide critical details into what might have happened in the milliseconds before a crash.
Unfortunately, these systems are not available at every crossing. Not only would it be too expensive to install them everywhere, it may simply be unnecessary in certain areas.
However, what this means is that if you do get injured in an accident at a railroad crossing, you may be able to get answers that were not available before. Working with your attorney to investigate the accident and secure historical and real-time data from the scene can help you build a claim seeking compensation for damages you have suffered.