Those who live in and around the City of Chicago understand that serious injuries or death can occur to both motorists and pedestrians as a result of CTA or Metra accidents. According to Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, 156 non-employee fatalities occurred between 2001 – 2010. These statistics show that 15 people were killed annually.
According to NBC Chicago, on December 20th, a Metra train collided with a vehicle in the northwest Chicago suburb of Des Plaines. Police reported that the driver of the motor vehicle mistakenly turned onto the tracks in front of the approaching Metra train. The three people inside the car were injured, and no one aboard the Metra suffered any injuries. Earlier in the same day, another Chicago Metra train on the same line was involved in an accident as well. In the Chicago northwest suburb of Buffalo Grove, a train struck a person in what authorities are concluding was a suicide attempt. Then, a third incident occurred on the Metra in the Chicago west suburb of Glen Ellyn. A pedestrian was struck by a Metra train while crossing Main Street in Glen Ellyn. The victim was severely injured as a result of the train collision. Several witnesses reported that the man walked around the crossing gates.
Metra uses the Operation Lifesaver program to promote the safety and wellbeing of its commuters and of the pedestrians and motorists by the tracks. This program advises individuals to never walk on tracks and to only use the designated crossings. This is because by the time a train engineer sees someone walking on the tracks, they cannot stop the high-speed train in time to avoid a collision. An average freight train travels at 55 mph, and it takes such a train more than a mile’s length to come to a stop. Make sure to stay alert around tracks by not texting or using headphones, which can cause you to become distracted and not notice an oncoming train. A train moves faster than pedestrians think, which is why they are difficult to avoid.
In the accident described above, even though it was the negligent actions of the injured individuals (turning onto the tracks or walking onto the tracks) that resulted in the train collision, these negligent actions at hand could have negatively impacted others. For instance, debris from accidents is very dangerous and could have hurt nearby pedestrians or workers near the tracks and collision. Negligence by railroad employees is a significant factor too. For that reason, it is always imperative that railways maintain the safety functions of the railroad, such as those described in Operation Lifesaver, and take precautionary measures to make the railroad safe for everyone.
Metra trains carry numerous passengers to and from the Chicago downtown on a daily basis. If you, or someone you know, has been involved in a train accident, you can look to experienced and successful attorneys for help. Don’t hesitate to contact our firm for a free consultation.