Ohio Brings Railroad Crossing Safety to the Forefront
As a result of budget limitations, a 2013 provision only provided for a limited number of dangerous railroad crossings to receive light and gate upgrades. Since then, many more railroad crossings are being investigated for safety concerns. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio Rail Development Commission have determined an additional 2,000 crossings in Ohio should receive, at the very minimum, stop signs.
What this Means for Railroad Safety in Ohio
Navigating the laws of railroad safety, responsibility and culpability as it results to proving a personal injury case can be challenging. If a client is injured at a train crossing, I must prove the injuries occurred because of the hazardous conditions. A hazardous crossing alone is not enough to prove negligence. In the state of Ohio railroad crossings are not necessarily required to have lights, gates or even stop signs.
Soon 2,000 railroad crossings in Ohio will have stop sign rather than yield signs. This highlights the magnitude that these crossings fall terribly short on the scale of safety and security for pedestrians and drivers alike. Injuries occur due to visibility issues, maintenance issues or in cases of high train or vehicle traffic areas. Some argue heavy vehicle traffic areas should have yield signs and forgo stop signs! According to the Ohio Rail Development Commission, high traffic areas with vehicles stopping abruptly can lead to more vehicle vs. vehicle collisions. In my professional and personal opinion, I would rather get into a fender bender than hit by a train!
In the State of Ohio, we have a vast database of all rail crossings as well as an easy way for citizens to report an overtly dangerous crossing. As an injury lawyer, I find it absolutely necessary to hold the responsible parties accountable in the event of an injury or death at a railroad crossing. We cannot allow budgetary issues to overshadow critical safety issues.