An Amtrak train in Holmes County, MS derailed last month after crashing into a tractor-trailer. The serous accident led to injuries to six people, including four passengers and two crewmembers.
Police say the train derailment involved an Amtrak train bound of New Orleans, the Spirit of New Orleans. The train was carrying 152 passengers as well as 11 crewmembers at the time of the accident. Authorities say that the train collided with the big rig that was stopped on the train tracks at around 9:30 in the morning.
The accident led to injuries to the six people on the train due to force of the impact with the tractor-trailer. The passengers and crew were all being treated at local hospitals, though none of the injuries appeared to be life threatening. Miraculously, the driver of the truck was not injured in the accident.
Officials say the accident happened at what is known as a marked public crossing. Generally, traffic control devices at railroad crossing can be categorized as either active or passive controls. Passive controls include the one at issue in the recent Amtrak accident, ones where signs alert drivers to the railroad crossing ahead but do not indicate when a train is approaching. These crossings often have a crossbuck sign that warns drivers to stop, look and listen, but do little else.
Active controls include things that warn motorists of the presence of a train. These include flashing lights, bells and crossing gates. These active controls are used along busy roadways, near schools, in commercial areas and in urban areas with high traffic.
Nationwide there are over 250,000 public and private railroad crossings in the U.S. Among these, a substantial chunk only use passive traffic controls. In fact, one study found that while passive crossings account for about 35 percent of all railroad crossings, they make up 42 percent of all railroad crossing fatalities. Sadly, if the government and railroads would simply invest more money in securing railroad crossings, accidents like this one might be avoided.
The issue is a serious one given how dangerous railroad collisions can be. Though no one was killed in the recent Holmes County accident, railroad crossing accidents rate second in severity only to aviation accidents. The ration of persons killed and seriously injured is over 40 times that of all car accidents.
Source: “Amtrak train derails in Holmes County,” published at WAPT.com.
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