Study Shows Train Accidents Problematic For California, Other States

Trains are generally a safe way to travel. You don’t have to worry about watching how much you drink or how tired you are before commuting. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the landscapes out your window. Even though commuting by train can be much safer than taking your chances on the road, accidents do happen. In fact, as rail travel becomes more popular, more people are getting injured and killed in high-speed train accidents.

Train Accidents On the Rise Across the Country

A Miami company recently analyzed four years of train accident data published by the Federal Railroad Administration. It discovered that s one pedestrian or vehicle is struck by a train every three hours. In 2017, there were 888 train accidents across the nation. That year, 575 people were killed in train-related collisions.

Which States Have the Most Train Accidents?

Many states are embracing trains and rail travel. Some tout their rail systems as the future of transportation in major cities. However, those same states are seeing a surge in rail accidents. According to the study, the following states report the most number of train accident fatalities each year:

  • Texas
  • California
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Georgia, and
  • Florida.

Between 2014 and 2018, there were 801 train accident deaths in the state of California. Only Texas had more, reporting 1,223.

Trains Are Common Carriers

Trains are classified as common carriers. A common carrier is a business that transports people in exchange for money. States hold common carriers to a higher degree of care than others. Train companies and employees have to go to great lengths to keep passengers safe.

In California, trains must “use the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious person.” Operators and companies must “do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under the circumstances to avoid harm to passengers.”

To satisfy this duty of care, train companies must:

  • Inspect trains and equipment on a regular basis
  • Fix known mechanical or structural defects promptly
  • Take broken or dangerous trains out of service
  • Hire skilled and competent staff, and
  • Train staff members in accordance with state and federal law.

Engineers and staff must use extreme caution when operating a train. An engineer who consumes drugs or alcohol, speeds, or operates a train while fatigued can be liable for an accident.

Pedestrians Involved in Many Train Accidents

Train accidents don’t just happen when engineers and train companies are negligent. Many pedestrians also contribute to fatal collisions across the country. A study of Florida train accidents showed that many train accident pedestrian fatalities happen in low-income areas in the state’s most populated cities. If you’ve been hurt in a Florida train accident, get help from a personal injury lawyer in Miami who can assist you.

When a rail line runs through a heavily populated urban area, there may not be sufficient safety barriers in place to keep residents safe. This is particularly true in less affluent parts of a city. This problem isn’t unique to Florida. Los Angeles and other California cities report train accidents and fatalities every year. Many of these collisions occur in lower-income neighborhoods and areas.