Most people know that car accidents are fairly common, but they probably don't think about what occurs in a train accident. These accidents can occur due to a number of reasons, from negligent track maintenance to a failure to heed railroad regulations. Anywhere there is a road crossing at a train track, there is potential for a catastrophic train accident.
Most people are used to hearing about car accidents and the various causes of these deadly incidents, so it may come as a surprise to many of our readers that train accidents are also the cause of thousands of injuries each year. But just how many injuries and fatalities do train accidents cause?
When Minnesota residents suffer an injury on the job, they can sometimes feel like their options are limited. While recovering from their injury, how will they pay their bills? For most employees in Minnesota and other states, the answer is a claim for workers' compensation. Unfortunately, railroad workers don't have this option.
Minnesota residents may remember the serious oil train accident that occurred in 2013 in neighboring North Dakota, in the city of Casselton. The National Transportation Safety Board has recently issued its final report on this accident. Per this report, the NTSB recognizes that the wreck did result in safety improvements, however, more needs to be done to address the issue of oil train safety.
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.
Trains are massive vehicles that take trained professionals to operate. Moreover, it takes a good deal of skill and knowledge to maintain rail lines. Engineers and railroad workers in Minnesota are often pushed to make sure that trains arrive at their destination on time if not earlier. This can cause some workers to engage in risky behaviors such as using drugs while on the job. According to one source, almost eight percent of employees involved in railroad accidents in 2016 had various illicit substances in their system, such as morphine, OxyContin, cocaine and marijuana, among others.
Our means of communication have come a long way over the past few decades. Landlines are being replaced by cell phones, and whether it is through a phone call, an email or a text message the variety of ways we now have to communicate with one another is quite astounding. These days, sending a text message has become just another everyday activity performed by individuals many times a day across Minnesota. However, there is one instance in which it is just about never a good idea to send or receive a text message: while driving.