The Minnesota Department of Transportation works to eliminate accidents at the dangerous intersections where trains and vehicles meet. The agency does so by replacing antiquated, unsafe crossing mechanisms with newer, more visible and efficient tools that improve driver awareness of railroad tracks. However, despite MDoT’s efforts, Minnesota residents are still losing their lives when they cross paths with trains.
In 2015 four people died when their vehicles were in collisions with moving trains. The four fatalities occurred in three different collisions and an additional 32 crashes occurred with 19 more injuries being reported. Though these statistics do indicate an improvement in railroad safety over prior years it still demonstrates that Minnesotans are subjected to danger when they have to cross tracks in their vehicles.
Trains can be hard to hear and even more difficult to spot when a driver is approaching railroad tracks. When a driver does not see a train and there are no functioning crossing gates or signage to warn him of the pending danger then he can cross directly into the path of a train without knowing of the harm to come.
Though MDot encourages drivers to slow down, be aware and pay attention when driving on or near railroad tracks, railroad fatalities still happen. Depending upon the facts and circumstances of a particular case a railroad accident victim or surviving family members may have rights to seek compensation for the losses the victim sustained in the crash. Compensation for losses related to medical treatments and hospitalizations, lost work and property damages may all be sought from the individuals’ whose negligence led to the damaging vehicle collision.