What Railroads Should Do About Pedestrian Deaths

The Federal Railroad Administration has long advised railroads to take engineering measures to make their tracks and rights-of-way safer. This includes fencing, landscaping, and other barriers to prevent access to tracks. These methods are proven to reduce pedestrians accessing train tracks and serve as firm warning that tracks are dangerous. It also provides a natural boundary for children and communities. Several states have passed laws requiring railroads to fence off their tracks and rights-of-way to product children and adults. In Minnesota, for instance, the legislature determined that railroads must fence off their rights-of-way to protect children. Unfortunately, railroads largely ignore the law; BNSF, Minnesota’s largest railroad, for instance, has a stated policy of “no public safety” fencing despite the clear requirement to do so.

Another solution that is largely ignored is constructing pedestrian railroad crossings and over and underpasses so that there are practical ways to get from point A to point B without crossing over railroad tracks and encountering trains and locomotives.

In an effort to reduce the numbers of pedestrian being injured and killed by trains, the FRA has conducted workshops to educate and discuss solutions with railroads. Unfortunately, railroads often ignore the FRA’s guidance and decline to fence off their tracks or put in other safety measures. This leads to accidents and deaths that are entirely preventable. Bolt Hoffer Boyd Attorneys are experienced in representing individuals severely injured in these accidents and the families of those who have been killed.

Pedestrian Train and Railroad Safety

96% of all rail-related fatalities and injuries occur at railroad crossings or due to trespassing. Sadly, almost all of these deaths and injuries are preventable. “Trespassing” along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. Nationally, more than 400 trespass fatalities occur each year, the vast majority of which are preventable. The FRA gives some suggestions on steps we pedestrians can take to be safer, here are a few:

  • Stay alert—it is easy to get distracted, especially by phones, music, and conversation
  • Stop, look both ways, and listen
  • Follow all signs and instructions
  • Cross the tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings
  • Cross quickly, never stop on tracks
  • Be especially cautious if crossing a railroad on a bike, with a stroller, or in a wheelchair, as wheels get caught on poorly designed or maintained train tracks
  • Always cross at a 90° angle as your wheels can become stuck on the tracks that are not properly guarded

Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm has experienced attorneys with the skills and drive necessary to fight against railroads, protect your rights, and prove that your railroad injury was caused by a negligent railroad carrier. Our railroad and train accident attorneys have spent thousands of hours gathering industry studies, FRA recommendations, internal railroad documents and testimony, and are dedicated to not only compensating victims and their families, but sincerely believe that our actions and advocacy drive safety improvements and make railroads safer for the public. Because no two cases are alike, we specifically tailor our legal representation to give each and every client specialized legal to the specific facts of their claim and will not stop until justice is achieved. We are 100% dedicated to every client we take on, no matter how big or small the case. We handle each case with care and commitment to getting you the compensation you need to get back to life as you know it. Contact us at Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation with railroad attorney today.