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City raises awareness on gateless railroad crossings

Train accidents are one of the most devastating types of crashes that could happen to a driver. The high speeds and sheer strength, durability and size of the vessel almost guarantees that a driver will suffer major injuries from the impact if they do not die from it.

While there are a number of railroad crossings that have flashing lights and gates on them, many contain only a sign to warn them of the incoming danger. The city of Wilkes-Barre has recently decided to update some of their signs on their crossings after multiple reports and close-calls of railroad crashes in their areas. Their response to the issue should serve as a warning to other Pennsylvania drivers about the precautions a driver needs to take at any railroad crossing.

Warning signs

Luzerne County, the area that contains Wilkes-Barre, has five rail lines operating with over 150 railroad crossings on public roadways. Nearly one third of those crossings rely on crossbuck signs instead of flashing lights and gates. While the latter would be much safer and do a better job of preventing vehicles from getting on the track when a train approaches, it is far too expensive to cover all crossings with them.

However, the area is planning on changing some of the signs to make it clearer for drivers to approach the gateless railways cautiously. Older signs that are rusty and no longer have a reflective surface will be replaced with newer ones to warn the motorists at any time of the day, and yield signs will go in place to warn drivers to yield the right of way to trains and to be careful when crossing the tracks.

Consequences of inattentiveness

Those that fail to stop and properly yield at a railroad crossing could receive fines ranging from $100 to $500 depending on the vehicle and the severity of the violation. However, those penalties do not compare to the physical risk being on a railroad with an incoming train can be. Drivers should pay attention to their surroundings so they do not rush into a dangerous crossing at the wrong time.

Unfortunately, motorists respond differently when they see a crossing sign. Some cut it too close before or after the rails, and some try to rush through it and put themselves or other nearby vehicles in danger. If you receive any severe injuries from the train or negligent driver because of this, an attorney with experience in motor vehicle cases can help you acquire compensation for your damages and medical bills.

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