Accidents between motor vehicles and trains have increased in Michigan in recent years, highlight the serious dangers of train-vehicle collisions. The Federal Railroad Administration reports that Michigan is ranked 10th for train-vehicle collisions. Last year, 78 accidents happened and 12 people were killed.
The rate of accidents in the state has increased during the last few years. In 2013, 61 accidents were reported, and from 2013 to last year, the fatality rate increased by almost 35 percent.
What has led to the increase in accidents? Officials are citing driver error as the main cause for the increase. The use of electronic devices while driving is a main contributor to the increase in train-vehicle accidents.
Michigan isn't alone in seeing an uptick in train-vehicle collisions. The nation has also seen an increase. Last year, there were 267 fatal train-vehicle accidents, an increase of roughly 19 percent from the previous year.
Safety groups have said that drivers are too impatient to wait for passing trains and they think they can get across the train tracks before the train comes. Unfortunately, that can lead to disastrous consequences.
Officials say there is little engineers can do to stop when they see a vehicle in the way. That is why safety groups are raising awareness of the dangers of train-vehicle collisions and the importance of paying attention at all times.
Drivers should be aware of the serious risks when driving near train tracks. Victims who are injured in an accident may be able to take legal action against the driver of the vehicle as well as potentially the train company depending on the factors of the crash.
Source: The Detroit News, "Michigan train-car crashes rising," Marney Rich Keenan, March 20, 2015