In early June an 18-wheeler truck collided with a train in the 15-hundred block of Wald Road, according KGNB Radio News, and “one person was airlifted from the scene.” The wreck happened near the many quarries in the area on the south side of the city when the big rig was trying to cross the tracks. It was undetermined just how fast the train was going, but it was going fast enough to split “the big rig in two, knocking the rig portion of the truck off the roadway, leaving the trailer portion of the truck on the other side of the tracks,” according to KGNB. The driver was extricated from the rig and was airlifted to University Hospital. “Crews remained on the scene for about an hour cleaning up a fairly large diesel spill,” according to KGNB.
According to Operation Lifesaver and statistics from the Federal Railroad Association, there were 1,960 collisions involving trains in 2012, in which 271 people were killed and 930 people injured. The number is significantly down from years past—in 2011 there were 2,062, and in 1981 there were a whopping 9,461. That year, there were 728 fatalities and just fewer than 3,300 injuries. The reduction most likely has to do with increased safety measures and technological tools now available at railroad crossings. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and published by Operation Lifesaver, “a motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.” A train hitting your car is akin to your car hitting an aluminum soda can—the train is that much heavier and traveling at much greater speeds.
One proviso that was proffered during the construction of American trains was that the train would have the right of way, meaning that in most train accidents the motorist has no legal recourse to sue. And yet, according to Angels on Track, “as far back as 1877, the United States Supreme Court found that railroads were obligated to give reasonable and timely warning that trains were approaching.” Because of this clause, if you or someone you know has been injured in a train accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney today.