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Motorists are playing a deadly game when they race across train crossings, attempting to traverse them before a rapidly approaching train arrives. While common sense dictates that this is never a good idea, every year motorists perish trying to save the few minutes they would spend waiting for trains to cross.

Recent tragedy

A 16-year-old victim near Indianapolis, Indiana was one of the most recent victims killed while attempting to beat a train at a crossing. Witnesses reported that the teen driver approached the crossing in an SUV with two additional teen passengers, slowing down at first and then actually coming to a complete stop. Unfortunately, the driver didn’t remain at a standstill, making the last minute decision to try to traverse the barrier-less railroad crossing before the train reached it.

In an all too familiar result, the front seat passenger was killed, while the other two people in the vehicle escaped albeit with severe injuries. While the two survivors were fortunate to escape with their lives, the emotional and physical damage from the accident may last a lifetime.

A losing proposition

Sullivan, Indiana police chief Jesse Morin issued a stern warning after the accident, reminding motorists never to try to beat an approaching train ­ — advice many motorists need to hear. While fatalities and injuries at crossings have steadily decreased since 1981, when there was close to 10,000 collisions at railroad crossings, there are still hundreds of injuries and fatalities every year. This is especially alarming in light of statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration indicating that crashes involving cars and trains are almost 20 times more likely to result in fatalities than collisions involving other motor vehicles.

Those injured in collisions involving motor vehicles and trains should immediately contact a qualified personal injury attorney who can advise them of their rights.

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