Maine Railroad Crossings, Technology & Pedestrian Safety

Officials with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and the New England Passenger Authority (NNEPRA) will be working together for some research work to develop and test new trespass detection and deterrent technologies. They will be researching high-risk areas along the Amtrak’s Downeaster rail line and the Pan Am Railway in the Brunswick area. Their goal is to find a way to successfully mitigate trespassing in these areas.
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“Illegal trespassing is the number one cause of rail-related fatalities in the United States,” said Governor Paul R. LePage.

Our Portland railroad accident attorneys understand that the number of pedestrian railroad deaths is on the rise. According to a recent article from St. Louis Today, the number of pedestrian fatalities at railroad tracks increased by more than 25 percent during the first five months of 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012. During this time, in 2013, there were close to 200 fatalities witnessed across the nation, compared to 158 during the same time in 2012.

The new project is looking to utilize remote presence detection sensors and secure, wireless cameras at locations that are frequented by trespassers. When these systems detect a person on the tracks, officers with the Brunswick Police Department will be notified and they will choose how to respond.
According to a recent piece published by USA TODAY, the trespassing is not always intentional. It’s happening with increasing frequency around the nation: Someone distracted by their cellphone, iPod or other device walks in front of a moving train, according to transportation experts.

Public railroad crossings are places where the road crosses the train tracks, and they’re also places were fatal accidents are likely to occur when not used properly. State highway departments and railroad companies have marked them, for your safety, with one or more warning devices. It’s important that you learn what they are and watch for them. These warning devices advise you the road crosses train tracks. They alert you to the possible presence of a train.

Railroad Safety Tips:

-Keep a lookout for the signs that you see when approaching a railroad crossing. These signs will suggest that you slow down, look and listen for an oncoming train. Always be ready to stop when you approach the tracks.

-Remember that the only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be ticketed or fined.

-Remember that trains have the right-of-way 100 percent of the time. When you pair up a train and a passenger vehicle — the train will always win.

-If you see flashing lights or a lowering gate, it means a train is approaching. Do not proceed until the gates go completely up and the lights go off. It is illegal to go around lowered gates.

-Never step on the rails when crossing the tracks. They are slippery, especially when wet.

-Do not cross tracks when gates are down.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of an accident, contact us at 1-800-804-2004for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Maine Railroad Safety Crossing a Dangerous Place for Collisions, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, April 20, 2013