Chicago railroad crossing accidents in focus as Illinois under federal mandate to improve safety

Illinois is among 10 states ordered by the federal government to improve safety at railroad crossings, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys continue to report on the large number of Chicago railroad crossing accidents. Our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog has reported at least one fatal railroad crossing accident in each of the last three months.Between 2006 and 2008, a total of 98 people have been killed at 588 railroad crossing accidents in Illinois, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. In fact, Illinois had more railroad crossing accidents than any state in the nation except Texas.

States must submit a plan by August 2011 to reduce railroad crossing accidents and must pay extra attention to crossings that have been identified as particularly dangerous. Options include shutting down crossing or building tunnels or bridges to separate trains from vehicle traffic.

In Northeastern Illinois, four crossings in Chicago and the Bensenville Rail Yard in Franklin Park top the list of crossings where multiple accidents have occurred. Five crashes have been reported at each location during the past five years.

Other states under the federal mandate to improve crossing safety are Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas. Federal statistics show that 7,077 crossing accidents have killed 873 people during the last three years. Just over half of those accidents occurred in the 10 states targeted for safety improvements.

Federal authorities rejected an argument by some states that fatalities be determined based on the number of crossings in a state and the number of vehicles traveling through crossings. Instead, the enforcement action is being taken based on the total number of railroad crossing accidents that each state has reported.

State authorities have yet to finalize a separate plan meant to reduce Illinois pedestrian accidents at railroad crossings. Twenty-eight pedestrians have been killed at crossings in the last three years, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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