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Train Accident Statistics

According to the National Transportation Safety Bureau, about every 115 minutes, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the U.S. Rail accidents and/or incidents include the following scenarios:

  • Derailment
  • Train-train collisions
  • Train-car collisions
  • Train-person collisions
  • Damage to property

Approximately 1,000 people die in train accidents every year. Further, United States train and railroad accident statistics estimate that almost every two weeks a train derailment leads to a chemical spill. Some of these spills are so serious that they require the evacuation of local residents. The occurrence and frequency of train accidents has been escalating since 1997.

Aside from being extremely tragic and devastating, train and railroad accidents can be very complex and difficult for the victims. Your best option following a train wreck or railroad accident is to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney to help you recover well-deserved damages in the midst of all the pain and suffering endured.

If you’ve been injured in a train accident, McAleer Law can assist you in recovering monetary compensation, which includes lost wages, past and future medical bills, and pain and suffering. Sometimes even punitive damages can be recovered.

Train-Car Collisions

Many people make the mistake of believing that an oncoming train will be able to stop in time if their car were to stall on the tracks. However, a 150-car freight train traveling 50 miles per hour will take over a mile to stop!

According to the US Department of Transportation, there are about 5,800 train-car crashes each year in the United States, most of which occur at railroad crossings. These accidents cause 600 deaths and injure about 2,300. More than 50% of all deadly accidents happen at crossings with inadequate safety devices. In the day time, about 75% of car and train collisions involve the train hitting the car. At night, about 50% of the time, the car runs into the train at an inadequately marked crossing. The lesson here is to drive safe and expect the unexpected at train crossings.

Train Accident Statistics

  • Every 90 minutes there is a train collision or derailment.
  • A train carrying hazardous cargo derails approximately every two weeks in the United States.
  • Today rail companies rely on technology that was developed more than 70 years ago, and very little research and improvement has been made to update these dated safety measures.
  • Local governments often have no voice over the train traffic in their area, which can result in delays for local emergency responders.
  • According to the DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration, about 80% of railroad crossings do not have adequate warning devices.
  • While vehicle on train collisions have decreased in the past few years, pedestrians involved in train collisions have increased.

Train Accidents in Atlanta

MARTA has had two fatal accidents, which resulted in a formal investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. On February 25, 2000, a train near the Avondale MARTA station struck two automatic train control technicians who were inspecting a relay box; one was fatally injured and the other suffered serious injuries. The workers had failed to apply for a safe clearance restriction for the track work. In addition, the rail system center controller, who was aware of the workers, failed to notify train drivers of the technicians’ presence.

A second accident occurred in 2000 when a train struck a bucket lift containing two contract workers at Lenox station. Both workers were fatally injured. Although the MARTA employee who was accompanying the workers notified the rail control center of the work over the track, the control center employee failed to block off the section of the track in the automated rail control system and also failed to notify the unscheduled southbound train of the workers’ presence. In 2001, MARTA settled with the families of the two killed workers for $10.5 million.

MARTA trains have derailed four times in recent years. Further, MARTA has had several escalator accidents that have injured several people. MARTA attempted to blame the incidents on patrons jumping on the escalator, however, a formal investigation showed that the braking systems and a weak motor were to blame for the incidents.

In September 2008, a Fulton County jury awarded a woman $525,000 for injuries received in an escalator accident at the Peachtree Center MARTA station. MARTA has been severely criticized for its escalator maintenance policies after recent injuries due to escalators overloading.

There is also recurrent criminal activity on MARTA trains and in and around MARTA train stations. For instance, aggravated and sexual assaults against patrons are frequently reported. From 2005 to 2009, two homicides and one rape were reported on MARTA property.