Increased Safety Precations at Railroad Crossings
Too many lives are lost due to negligence at railroad crossings. In 2012, Christopher Kerns of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky lost his life when a train hit his vehicle while crossing railroad tracks that he was very familiar with. Chris had crossed these tracks many times in his short 29 years. However, on the day of his death he did not see the train that would end his life. At this particular crossing, there are no gates or lights to signal that there would be an oncoming train. There is also a tunnel and foliage that obstructs the ability to see an oncoming train. Due to this, Chris lost his life that day. There are so many others who have lost their lives as well. So many families who must live day to day without their loved ones due to a lack of proper safety precations at railroad crossings across America. While I would love to hit this on a Federal level, we need to start small. I am starting with my home state of Kentucky. Think about this, every 3 hours a person/vehicle is hit by a train. In 2011, Kentucky ranked number 9 on the top 10 list of states with the most railroad collisions with 61 total collisions. Mind you, since the early eighties railroad collisions have drastically lowered. However, so many railroad crossings are neglected due to the following:
1.) Proper warnings such as lights and gates are not installed.
2.) Improper sight lines are created and the driver cannot see the train before it's too late.
3.) Defective warnings.
4.) Failure to properly maintain crossings by allowing vegetation, overgrown trees and foliage to obstruct/hide view of an oncoming train.
5.) Improperly parking a train/cart at or near a crossing and therefore giving false sense of security and also obstructs/hides the view of an oncoming train.
6.) Failure of the conductor to sound the horn/whistle at a safe distance before a upcoming crossing.
With this, it is important for the Federal Railroad Administration to make our Kentucky railroad crossings safer. By doing this, we can lower the amount of senseless fatalities on our Kentucky railways.
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