While experts continue to voice concerns about the number of Miami traffic accidents overall, at least one report suggests that train crossing accidents, at least, are fewer in Florida. According to information gathered by the Federal Railroad Administration, the number of crashes involving trains and vehicles declined in Florida during the first nine months of the year. The number of injuries also declined when compared with statistics from last year. Across the country, the number of injuries caused by train-vehicle collisions increased 14% while the number of collisions declined slightly nationwide. This means that Florida is ahead of the curve when reducing the number of train-car accidents.
Between January and September of this year, there have been forty accidents at railway crossings across the state and six fatalities. Miami-Dade County has not had any such accidents, while Broward County has had two fatalities and five accidents and Palm Beach County has had five accidents and one fatality.
Last year, the Federal Railroad Administration ordered ten states, including Florida, to devise five-year plans to reduce the number of accidents at railway crossings. Florida has stated that most South Florida railway crossings have devices which prevent motorists from colliding with trains. However, Florida has stated that it will improve education programs to help people understand how to cross railway tracks safely.
As part of Operation Lifesaver, authorities hope to instill three main rules with motorists:
1) It is important to always anticipate a train when approaching a rail crossing. Trains move quickly and may approach from either direction. In many cases, motorists enter the rail crossing because they assume that a train is not coming, but this can be a deadly mistake.
2) Do not drive distracted. It is important to avoid using a mobile device in cars and to turn down the car stereo as well. Talking on the phone (even with a hands-free device) or listening to music can cause you to miss important audio alarms that can alert you of an oncoming train. It is also important for pedestrians walking near tracks to avoid listening to music or talking on a mobile device. Again, distractions can cause tragic Miami pedestrian accidents in this type of situation because pedestrians may not hear an oncoming train.
3) Only cross a rail crossing if you can completely get by the rail without stopping. If there is traffic, wait until the traffic ahead of you moves forward enough to give you adequate room to clear the train tracks. Otherwise, you may get stuck in the middle of the tracks. In this situation, you could be in a serious Miami car accident if a train suddenly approaches. Trains travel very fast and even if a conductor sees you on the tracks, he or she may not be able to stop in time since trains require a much larger stopping distance than cars or even trucks.
If you have been injured in a Miami train accident, the injuries, medical costs and damages can be devastating. Contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free consultation so that you can get a detailed analysis of your case and a comprehensive explanation of all your options.