Jones & Swanson

Georgia Railroad Safety Issues

As a Marietta car wreck lawyer, Attorney Andrew Jones hears about a variety of types of crashes throughout the state of Georgia. Some less common occurrences are those involving trains and automobiles at railroad crossings. Although uncommon, they are usually devastating when they occur.

In 2012, 47 deaths and injuries at Georgia rail crossings were recorded. This may be due to the large number of Georgia crossings that lack gates and bells which serve as a warning to approaching vehicles. Unfortunately, there are over 3,300 of these dangerous crossings across the state.

But why are they so dangerous? Specifically at night, it can be difficult to see an approaching train until it’s too late. The lowered gates, lights, and bells that are present at many Georgia railroad crossings serve as warning signals so that drivers can easily tell when a train is approaching.

In May, three Cobb County residents lost their lives after a train broadsided their vehicle at a Toccoa rail crossing. Perhaps this incident, as well as many others, could be prevented with gates.

So why don’t all Georgia railroad crossings have safety features in place, such as gates and bells? Federal funding provides Georgia with approximately $8 million annually to use for railroad crossing safety. The state itself then decides where that money is used. More often than not, safety features are placed at rail crossings with higher vehicle traffic and prior crashes. Because these safety systems can cost $250,000 to $300,000 each, not all Georgia crossings have them.

Due to the fact that railroad crossing injury and death numbers are lower than those on highways involving other automobiles and tractor trailers, it is unlikely that railroad crossings will become safer across the state any time soon. For that reason, it is important that when you come to a railroad crossing, regardless of the time of day, you should use extra caution. Trains cannot stop quickly and therefore have little opportunity to prevent a crash with an automobile. It is the automobile drivers’ responsibility to look both ways before accelerating over train tracks, regardless of how often they are used.

For more information on railroad safety or to find out if you have a personal injury claim, contact Jones & Swanson today at (770) 427-5498. Cobb County railroad safety is of utmost importance to our firm.

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