Improperly Maintained Tracks: A Very Serious Threat against Train Passengers’ Safety

Posted by on Jul 5, 2013

With over 200,000 miles of railroad track spanning across the US, 20,000 locomotives and 1,200,000 freight cars, trains are definitely major contributors to the nation’s transportation and economic growth. Thousands of Americans take the train to get to their destinations much faster; tourists ride it for an experience of America on rails, while tons of cargo and various goods have been transported from coast to coast on board it.

Since trains cover very long distances and often travel at high speeds, it is essential that these, and all of their parts, are always in good working condition for guaranteed safe and efficient travel. Also, since these incredibly powerful vehicles run only on rails, these rails will also have to be properly maintained and kept in good condition.

Many of those responsible for the maintenance of railroad tracks fail to do their job well, though. As a result, the number of train accidents for the past five years has steadily increased, averaging at least 5,500, with injuries going over 2,000 and fatalities numbering to about 600. In fact, according to the National Transportation Safety Board many railroad crossings are not properly maintained; many do not even have lights or safety gates that would protect motorists from approaching trains, especially at night.

There are other types of railroad accidents, including train colliding with another train, collision with another motor vehicle, derailment, driver fatigue, driver error, mechanical failure and improperly maintained tracks, which, by the way, cause 60% of all railroad deaths.

Besides taking lives and destroying properties train accidents have also caused spills of hazardous chemicals, endangering the lives of residents living near the site of the accident. With many train and railroad equipment already outdated and with the local governments having no absolute say about the train traffic in their particular state, maintenance and improvement of materials and equipment are sure to take much time.

The severity of harm committed against people and the tremendous amount in damage to property are just a couple of things that need to be addressed. If the accident is due to the carelessness of a firm, another person, or a local government, then justice and compensation may be won for the victim.

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