Distracted Truck Drivers Lead to Deadly Incidents at North Carolina Railroad Crossings

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released that Nevada has become the 34th state to ban all drivers from texting while driving. This announcement follows the recent tragic event of a truck driver crashing into an Amtrak train which killed and injured several people.

North Carolina banned all drivers from using cell phones previously in hopes of reducing the number of distracted driving accidents in Asheville , Greensboro and elsewhere in the state. Winston-Salem car accident lawyers agree that truck drivers and school bus operators should be included in the texting ban because they are on the clock and have a responsibility to be safe drivers. Cell phones and texting are the leading cause of distraction while driving in our country and take the lives of so many each and every year.
CNN reports that John Davis Trucking Company is under investigation following a crash that involved one of their truckers, who crashed into an Amtrak train carrying 195 passengers and 14 crew members at a railroad crossing.

The crash killed 5 passengers and the truck driver and injured several other passengers. The National Transportation Safety Board is meeting with the company to obtain records on their employee. It is reported that the trucking company has 19 previous safety violations along with a fatal single-vehicle crash last May.

Investigators believe the truck driver was using his cell phone prior to the crash and will send the phone to a D.C. lab to determine if it was a factor leading to the crash. Safety measures at the crossing are not believed to have contributed since the intersection is equipped with cantilevers, lights, crossing gates, signs and pavement markings. The flashing warning light for an approaching train is set longer at this railroad crossing than is required by the federal standard.

Trucking companies have a responsibility to hire responsible and reliable employees. If a company hires a new driver, previous driving records should be obtained and considered before signing on the dotted line. The Associated Press reports that the driver involved in the Amtrak crash had received four speeding tickets since 2008. According to Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, three of the four speeding tickets were while operating a school bus over the posted speed limit.

The Federal Railroad Administration offers an instructional video for professional drivers to illustrate railroad crossing safety. For more information about the legal responsibilities at railroad crossings and situational awareness click the link to view the video.

Railroad crossing safety tips for all drivers:

  • When gates are lowered, do not drive around them.
  • Never speed up to race a train to the crossing.
  • Do not enter a crossing unless you know you can make it completely across before the train approaches.
  • Multiple tracks often have multiple trains so always be prepared for a second train to appear.
  • If your vehicle stalls on the tracks, immediately get out and walk to a safe location.
  • A train traveling at 55 mph can take up to one mile to get completely stopped so always be aware that they can’t brake quickly to avoid a collision.
  • If traffic is backed up at crossing, be alert and never sit on the tracks waiting for traffic to move in front of you.

If you have been injured in a train accident or an accident caused by a distracted driver in North Carolina, contact an experienced car accident attorney at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Victims and Survivors of Truck Accidents in North Carolina and Elsewhere Look to Revise Trucking Regulations, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, May 27, 2011

North Carolina Bus Company Forced Out of Service Following Fatal Bus Crash, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 6, 2011

Using Cell Phones While Driving Raises Risk of Statesville Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 21, 2011

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