New York Train Crashes Into Vehicle on Tracks

L.I.R.R. Train Collides With Passenger Vehicle, Causing Three Fatalities and More Injuries

Anyone who works in New York or commutes into the city is likely to know about the recent Long Island Rail Road (L.I.R.R.) train crash that resulted in the deaths of three people in Nassau County. According to an article in The New York Times, the train track’s intersection with traffic was known to be so hazardous that it was cited as one of seven L.I.R.R. crossings “scheduled to be eliminated” with new construction work.

The traffic crossing has long been considered a dangerous crossing, with over 200 commuter trains barreling through every day at up to 80 miles per hour—even as streams of cars waited to drive over the tracks.” The construction work that would have eliminated the crossing was scheduled to start in 2020, with a planned underpass that would allow motor vehicles to cross underneath the L.I.R.R. tracks.

In the recent crash, two separate L.I.R.R. trains, traveling in opposite directions, collided with a passenger vehicle that was crossing the tracks. The three people inside the vehicle suffered fatal injuries. Although most passengers on both trains were able to get out of the train cars safely, seven visited the Nassau University Medical Center and had to be treated for injuries. Three train passengers had injuries that were severe enough to require them to be admitted to the hospital. The passengers who escaped from the trains reported “fleeing flames that they worried would engulf one train and dodging debris that smashed through the front of the other.”

Officials indicated that the motor vehicle involved in the collision had driven onto the tracks when the crossing gates were down, but it is the speed and frequency of these trains traveling in both directions that is especially alarming, along with their track’s intersection with ongoing traffic.

Train Safety and Train Accident Prevention Tips

Train tracks can be particularly dangerous areas for pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicles. They should always should be approached with the highest caution to lower the risk of events that can cause train accident injuries. The following is a list of safety tips from Operation Lifesaver’s Rail Safety Education for drivers and pedestrians to remain safe when travelling on or around train tracks:

  • You should always anticipate that a train can appear at a highway-rail intersection;
  • Never walk on train tracks;
  • Recognize that trains cannot stop quickly when there is an obstacle on the tracks;
  • Know that trains always have the right of way;
  • Understand that trains extend about three feet (and sometimes more) beyond where the steel rails are, which means pedestrians should never stand within that three-foot space;
  • Cross train tracks only at designated areas;
  • Always assume that a train is approaching faster than you might think; and
  • Remain alert whenever you are walking, biking, or driving near train tracks.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a train accident or a train crash in New York, you should discuss your options with a train accident attorney.

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