When trains are not run with absolute care and caution, accidents can take place. Because of their massive weight and size, train accidents are devastating incidents, which can result in toxic spills and deaths.
Every year, 1000 people die due to train accidents in the U.S.A. However, one can go to a train accident lawyer to get compensated for the damages caused by train accidents. The most popular reasons leading to train and railroad accidents are listed below.
Railroad accidents caused due to negligence can be blamed on several groups like the railway company, railroad employee or conductor, or operator who failed to change the signal. Negligence can also occur if a crossing arm is operated wrongly.
- Human Error
Train accidents can easily take place if the conductor is inexperienced. Even people with experience in the railroad industry can commit mistakes causing harm to passengers and other people.
Another reason why human errors occur is that conductors are always tired. They cannot administer the train safely if they experience fatigue, yet they do so due to pressure from the company and supervisors. Even impaired reactions, poor judgment, and vision issues can cause train disasters.
- Mechanical Failure
Although this is not a common reason leading to train crashes, it has still led to train accidents. Trains are huge machines with multiple moving parts and complex systems. All of the distinct systems ought to work together perfectly to give electric and locomotive power. If some safety equipment like rail signal or piece of guidance equipment like rail switch fails, it can lead to a fatal accident.
- Reckless Drivers And Pedestrians
If a person or a vehicle is standing on the railway tracks at the wrong time, it may lead to a collision. There have been incidents of people trying to cross railway tracks even when train is arriving. If they are not able to cross in time, it may cause an accident.
- Defective Tracks
Sometimes, obstructions left on train tracks can be deadly. Conductors should be able to manage such situations quickly and also be aware of their surroundings every time to prevent such an incident. However, sometimes the conductor fails to observe the obstacles in time to stop a collision.
A derailment is when trains run off its rail, either because of conductor error, collision with another object, broken rails, mechanical track failure, or defective wheels. A derailment can either be minor causing no accident, or can be catastrophic if the trains are moving at a high speed.
- Unprotected Railroad Crossings
More than half of all the train accidents take place at unprotected crossings, and more than 80% of crossings lack sufficient warning devices, such as gates and lights. Accidents at unprotected train crossings are mostly caused by:
- Poor visibility
- Driver intoxication
- Driver distraction
- Driver trying to race the train
- Obstacles blocking driver’s view
- Malfunctioning signals
- Conductor failing to ring an alarm
Along with the above-mentioned reasons, trains can collide if they are over speeding. Because of their enormous structure, sometimes controlling them can become difficult leading to accidents.