Texas Train Accident Attorney
When a driver attempts to cross railroad tracks and either stalls or misjudges the speed at which a train is approaching, a serious or fatal accident may occur.
In 2014, Texas had the highest number of railroad crossing collisions – 287 – which caused 104 injuries and 19 fatalities, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. The state also ranked second for the number of people killed (41) and injured (39) while walking on or near railroad tracks.
With approximately 11,000 miles of railroad track in Texas, there are numerous rail crossings throughout the state. Each of those crossings presents a danger to motorists. Safety advocates say that while motorist behavior is often cited as the reason for serious and fatal collisions with trains, trackside warning systems may be at least partially to blame, if they haven’t been adjusted to account for the speed at which modern trains move.
If a train collision has injured you or someone in your family, we may be able to help. In some cases, families may be entitled to compensation for their losses, pain, and suffering. Call us today to learn what we can do for you: 1-855-414-1012.
In November 2012, four veterans died when a train hit their parade float as it was crossing a section of railroad track in Midland. A director with the Texas Department of Transportation reported that trains routinely travel that track at 70 mph, although the crossing was designed to handle speeds only less than 25 mph.
While Texans generally hear about high-profile train crashes in which multiple fatalities occur, statistics indicate there may be many more crashes than most people realize.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, from January 2006 through September 2015:
- 71 railroad companies operating in Texas accounted for 10,504 accidents/incidents, with Union Pacific accounting for 51 percent of those events.
- 98 crashes caused damage exceeding $500,000.
- Railroad signals were a factor in 54 train accidents, and tracks were blamed for 882 accidents.
- Highway-rail incidents killed 247 people and injured 1,054.
- Other incidents/accidents – those not considered train accidents or crossing incidents – killed 375 people and injured 3,963.
Those “other incidents” may include accidents on the job, like the one in Mathis in 2013 that killed two workers who were performing maintenance on a bridge.
Hazards for Workers
Railroad Workers United, an advocacy organization for rail workers, lists several hazards of the occupation – such as workforce reductions that result in pressure on employees to put in long hours and work while fatigued. And looking at reports of fines against railroad companies for environmental and occupational hazards, it’s clear that many of them aren’t known for their safety records.
The Fort Worth-based BNSF railroad, which accounted for 2,662 accidents in Texas in a 10-year time span, was fined thousands of dollars for 14 hazardous material spills in Washington in a span of about three months. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also ordered BNSF to revise its whistleblower provisions, because the company had intimidated workers or discouraged them from reporting injuries. In 2013, OSHA ordered Union Pacific to pay $309,000 in back wages, benefits, and attorney fees to a conductor who was fired after reporting a defect in a train that injured another worker.
Train accidents don’t just harm people crossing the tracks. They harm a large number of railroad workers every year, and with an industry-wide history of pressuring workers not to report injuries, it’s difficult to say just how many people have been injured while working a railway job.
Since 2006, states have received about $220 million a year in federal funding for railroad improvements, which typically covers about 90 percent of the cost of updating railroad crossings. With the number of railroad crossings in Texas, it may take some time to ensure that all of them are operating safely. The safest crossing, of course, is either a bridge that passes over railroad tracks or a tunnel that passes beneath, but the cost of building such infrastructure is too high, for a state already struggling to maintain other aging infrastructure.
If a Texas railroad accident has injured you or someone in your family, don’t wait to get help. Call us today at 1-855-414-1012 for your no-obligation consultation, or fill out our online contact from.