Railroad Crossing Accidents: What duties apply when determining negligence?

A train-tractor collision resulted in the death of a female passenger and injury of the driver and an infant passenger. Although still under investigation it’s interesting from the standpoint of analyzing negligence of both the tractor driver and the railroad train operating engineer.  Each has certain responsibilities for speed, lookout and control of the motorized vehicles they are driving on the public roads.

“ALTA, Iowa -- A 20-year-old woman is dead and an infant and 21-year-old man were injured when a tractor collided with a train on Saturday afternoon in Alta, according to police.”

The train’s engineer is in most communities is supposed to sound the horn before traversing public or city streets. That’s to warn cars and truck drivers of the trains presence.  The requirement involves the number of horn blasts and how far from the intersection that is to occur. Most communities have an ordinance involving train track crossings.

Of course the car, truck, farm equipment or tractor operators have certain duties as well. You have to keep a lookout for what is obviously there and when crossing train tracks look both ways.  Maintaining a proper lookout is the duty the driver when driving. That sounds axiomatic but when analyzed in a court of law it’s more difficult than it might first appear.

For instance, what if there are hedges along the road or street? We must know if that vegetation obstructs the driver’s view. Who owns the land along the side of the road where the plants, bushes or trees are growing? Because it may, according to local and state law, be their responsibility to trim the branches and keep the sight distances and angles open to view; so as to avoid blocking a driver’s vision.

That Sioux City Journal comes up with some interesting accidents. This one will surely prove to be an interesting claim to iron out.

Be the first to comment!
Post a Comment