As each day passes, experienced DuPage County Attorneys hear and learn about various types of vehicle accidents that occur throughout the State of Illinois. Although accidents at highway-railway intersections involving trains and automobiles are uncommon, they tend to be devastating when they occur.
The Facts & Figures
The Illinois Commerce Commission reported in 2012 that 89 accidents occurred at highway-railway intersections which resulted in 25 deaths and 34 injuries. Within the state of Illinois, there are over 7,300 miles of railroad tracks with more than 8,400 public crossings and just over 4,500 private crossings. Unfortunately, not all highway-railway crossings are made equal and some present more dangers than others.
Most highway-railway crossings have flashing lights and gates to inform motorists that trains are approaching, some only have reflective signs that advise motorists to use caution when crossing and few have no markings at all. (See the Illinois Railroad Safety Fact Sheet – 2013). Counties located within the Chicago area, including DuPage, are at the highest risk of experiencing a train-vehicle collision, due to the constant flow of daily trains and commuter traffic. Currently, DuPage County has 140 public highway-railway intersections and 18 private highway-railway intersections with a mix of the features identified above, but most have flashing lights and gates.