A Chicago train accident on March 25th claimed the life of a Lake Forest High School student. The death marked the third time since January that a Lake Forest High School student has died after being struck by a train.
According to the Chicago Tribune report, “His death followed the death of a 15-year-old sophomore who was struck and killed by a train Jan. 9 in what was recently ruled a suicide by Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey. Another sophomore, age 15, was fatally struck by a train Feb. 28.” Train accidents and incidents like these show that railroad fatalities are by no means a danger of the past.
Massive urban cities like Chicago would die without decent public transportation, including trains. However, the frequency of railway accidents shows that being in the vicinity of train tracks can be very hazardous. Seeding trains, train derailment, failure to pay attention to incoming trains, and inattentive driving can all lead to serious injuries and even death due to a train accident.
In fact, according to the Illinois Operation Lifesaver web site, “Each year in Illinois, approximately 80 people die on and around railroad tracks and property. There are few incidents that occur that affect a community and its residents like someone killed by a train. Families and friends of those people killed, train crews, railroad employees, first responders are all greatly impacted by such needless events.”
There are three areas which could reduce the risk of tragic train accidents:
- Education – Make sure that children and young adults understand the hazards present at all rail crossings. Public presentations, early elementary and driver education curriculum activities, school bus driver training, industrial safety, law enforcement training, and media coverage all can contribute to greater awareness of train accident hazards. Outlining how easy it can be to avoid any railway accident or incident is key.
- Enforcement – Motorist and pedestrian rights and responsibilities at rail crossings are outlined in state law and must be enforced to make an impact. Those who disregard these laws jeopardize their lives and the lives of others, and should face penalties which encourage respect for the dangers of these high-traffic railway zones.
- Engineering – Grade crossings must be engineered to be safe as possible, with improvements and updates made whenever needed. When changes are made by railroad programs that plan, install and maintain grade crossings, the public should be aware of anything that could affect their safety.
Sometimes nothing can prevent a tragic train accident from occurring. If you or a loved one has been in a railroad accident, you need to speak with an experienced Chicago train accident attorney right away.