One of the most important safety requirements for trains when passing grade crossings is that they must sound their horn. Keeping communities like Columbia, Missouri safe by reducing train accidents, injuries, and deaths have been a priority for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for decades. Tragically, however, incidents at highway-rail grade crossings represent a significant percentage of railroad-related fatalities and injuries. In fact, according to a report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, up to 30% of railway deaths are due to these types of accidents.
To that end, the FRA has established specific regulations on horn requirements when trains are passing grades. The rules include that the horn must be sounded at least 15 seconds before reaching a public grade crossing, and it should remain sounded until after the train has passed the crossing. Train horns must be sounded in a standardized pattern of 2 long, 1 short and 1 long blasts. This is intended to alert people (and vehicles) that there is a train coming and to provide ample time for everyone in the vicinity of the grade crossing to stop, look, and listen. Call our knowledgeable accident attorneys today to learn more about horn requirements for trains when passing grade crossing in Columbia.
Many local laws in Columbia have instituted bans on the use of train horns, but the FRA’s rule supersedes most of these local jurisdictions’ laws prohibiting their use. There are exceptions to this where certain local communities have what are known as quiet zones, but the train engineer must always be prepared to sound their horn in case of an emergency.
The reality is that train horns can save lives, and that is why the FRA has established regulations on their use when a train is passing grades. The fact, however, is that just because certain areas choose not to enforce or abide by the FRA’s rules does not make them any less important. It is imperative to remember that trains are large, powerful machines and serious injury or death can easily occur if there are not adequate horn requirements in place or they are not followed.
If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a train accident in Columbia and there is a demonstrable failure to adhere to the FRA’s horn requirements, it is likely you can file a personal injury claim. A personal injury lawyer can assist you in such a case by providing advice on how best to seek compensation for your losses and damages suffered due to the accident. Personal injury claims can help people hold negligent parties responsible for the damages and injuries they caused.
Proving that the train did not follow FRA guidelines, however, can be difficult, and it is important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer if you have been involved in such an accident. A knowledgeable Columbia train accident attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the incident and the circumstances leading up to it. This will involve a review of all relevant evidence, including accident reports, witness testimony and potentially even train audio recordings.
Train accidents can have devastating personal, financial, and emotional consequences when a personal injury or wrongful death occurs. Often there are multiple parties who may be at fault, including the train operator, railroad company, or other entities, and if you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident due to a failure to adhere to FRA horn requirements, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you understand your rights and provide legal representation.
At the Law Office of Chris Miller, we understand the complexities surrounding personal injury or wrongful death claims resulting from train accidents and are dedicated to helping our clients secure the compensation they deserve for their losses. We have experience representing individuals injured in grade crossing accidents due to negligence and will work with you to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out more information about horn requirements for trains when passing grade crossings in Columbia.