The railroad history of the US dates back to the 1820’s with the first transcontinental railroad completed in 1869. That’s nearly 200 years of rail transportation in the United States!
During that period of time, much has changed in the American landscape. For the passenger rail industry and U.S. Class I Railroads specifically, there has been tremendous expansion, consolidation and improvements over the years (As of May 2016 U.S. Class I Railroads are line haul freight railroads with 2014 operating revenue of $475.75 million or more). As a result, these railroad advancements have helped pave the way for efficient freight logistics, enhanced rail technology along with improved employment and rail worker safety efforts.
Common Railroad Injury & Rail Worker Accidents
Despite the advances aimed at protecting the rights of rail workers and the general public, rail safety continues to be a huge concern for companies transporting goods or passengers, railroad employees and the communities that trains pass through each and every day.
Safety concerns stem from various causes ranging from pedestrian trespassing to larger-scale train derailment, with accidents usually stemming from either human error or rail-related defects. Human errors involve railroad employees, train personnel and motorists with accidents attributed to everything from driving under the influence to simple disregard of rail operating procedures and industry regulations. Malfunctions of train tracks, railroad equipment and railway signals are also responsible for a large portion of accidents and related fatalities, and include issues like broken safety lights and crossing arms.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, in 2015 alone there were:
- 1,430 nonfatal injuries to railroad employees
- Six railroad employee fatalities
- Track issues that led to 189 incidents
- 490 train derailments
- 46 train collisions
- 691 train accidents
- 240 total railroad fatalities
- 3,919 railroad accidents and incidents
Improving Rail Regulations & Working With a Railroad Accident Lawyer
Although technological improvements are helping to reduce train fatalities and accidents on the whole, general awareness of industry safety measures and accident prevention efforts are an important topic for rail workers and the general public to keep top of mind. If we choose to ignore inadequacies, we won’t be able to fund efforts to continually bolster railroad safety regulations for our communities and our rail employees.
At Harrington, Thompson, Acker & Harrington, Ltd. we concentrate or practice in protecting the rights of rail employees injured on the job. Our experienced team of train accident attorneys will provide you with consultation, case evaluation and a discussion of your rights. Contact us before you file an accident report and we can work together to get your railroad injury case the results you deserve.