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Congressman wants railroad crossings investigated

In our last two posts, we discussed concern over the recent increase in the number of pedestrians and bicyclists being hit by commuter trains in California.

Because it is believed that many of the accident victims were distracted by cellphones and other gadgets when they were hit, Sacramento Regional Transit recently launched a campaign warning pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to pay closer attention around the tracks.

However, serious accidents at railroad crossings have been a problem throughout the entire country recently, and a U.S. congressman believes there may be more to it than people simply being too distracted to pay attention.

For example, the Associated Press reported that in early February, a Metro-North commuter train hit an SUV in Valhalla, New York, and six people were killed.

Later that month, a Metrolink commuter train hit a pickup truck on the tracks in Oxnard, California, causing many injuries and one death. Then, this month at least 54 people were injured when an Amtrak train collided with a tractor-trailer in Halifax, North Carolina.

In the wake of these accidents, the congressman is asking federal regulators to conduct a "deep dive" investigation into what needs to be done to reduce deaths and injuries at railroad crossings throughout the country.

In particular, the congressman wants the Federal Railroad Administration to study grade crossings to determine which are the most dangerous, how to get rid of these dangerous crossings and other safety measures that can be taken to reduce collisions at railroad crossings.

While many transit agencies would like to blame the public for the collisions that keep occurring, there is likely more to the story, as this congressman is suggesting.

Hopefully, the FRA will grant the congressman's request so that more is learned about the true causes behind railroad accidents and what can be done to prevent them.

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