Florida’s Brightline is among the most dangerous in the country when it comes to train crossing accidents, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
In an effort to address the problem, the Federal Highway Administration recently awarded a nearly $13 million grant to the Southern Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA). The agency says the money will be used to modernize 25 rail crossings on its Tri-Rail commuter rail line in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties. The project will upgrade LED lights and update signal houses, gate mechanisms, cantilevers, and light assemblies. The agency noted that Brightline tracks are located in areas where car and pedestrian traffic has increased, and that train traffic is expected to increase also in the near future. The new improvements should significantly reduce the number of train crossing accidents.
Reducing Train Crossing Accidents
According to the Federal Railroad Administration online database, Brightline trains collided with cars or pedestrians 85 times since the line started operations in 2018.
“Safety is the number one priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation, especially as our country faces a crisis of fatalities on our roadways. The grants will improve safety at highway-rail crossings for travelers, whether they’re riding, driving, biking, or walking” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. The federal government has made train crossing accident prevention a priority. “Making highway-rail grade crossings safer is a major goal for public transportation and is an important part of our program to improve safety throughout the transit industry,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “These grants are a big step to help keep people safe near highway-rail grade crossings.”
Brightline urges drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to be extra careful around railroad tracks, especially at crossings. The main cause of train crossing accidents is people ignoring warning lights, thinking they can make it across the tracks before a train comes. But it’s never a good idea to cross the tracks when the lights are flashing. It can be hard to accurately judge the speed of a train and how far away it is. Often, trains appear to be moving more slowly and be much closer than they appear to be. Also, it can take a mile or more for a train to stop in an emergency.
Sometimes, though, people get hurt in accidents through no fault of their own. In some situations, an accident happens through the negligence or carelessness of others. If you’ve been injured, contact an Orlando car accident attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. Call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida.