State ranks fifth in train-vehicle accidents

March 18, 2011 at 1:07 am

Louisiana ranks fifth in the nation for the most vehicle-train collisions, according to the latest Federal Railroad Administration data.

The same data shows that Calcasieu ranks seventh-highest in the state in vehicle-train collisions.

According to the data, vehicle-train collisions are on the rise. There were 2,004 vehicle-train collisions in 2010 in the United States. A total of 260 people died and 810 people were injured in those accidents. In 2009, there were 1,924 vehicle-train collisions with 247 deaths and 738 injuries.

Louisiana had 106 vehicle-train collisions in 2010 with 13 fatalities and 65 injuries, compared to 84 collisions in 2009 with 11 fatalities and 36 injuries.

The state ranked fifth highest in the nation in highway-rail collisions, fourth highest in fatalities, third highest in injuries and 14 highest in trespass casualties and injuries.

Trespass casualties are incidents that do not happen at a crossing, such as a person walking on train tracks.

According to Operation Lifesaver Inc., the reason for the increase in collisions could be that more people are traveling because of the steadily-improving economy.

Also in Southwest Louisiana, Allen Parish ranked 18th in the state for the most vehicle-train collisions; Jeff Davis, 20th; and Beauregard, 38th. Cameron Parish does not have any train tracks and was not ranked.

In trespass casualties and injuries, Calcasieu is ranked 10th in the state and Allen is 15th. Beauregard and Jeff Davis had no casualties and were not ranked.

On the law enforcement side of Operation Lifesaver, Louisiana State Police conduct railroad crossing enforcement details throughout the state throughout the state.

State police and Operation Lifesaver has speakers and troopers available to schools, city agencies and civic groups.

In 2010, during four details, troopers issued 143 citations, which included 98 for failure to obey a signal indicating the approach of a train.

Louisiana law require drivers to make complete stops at crossings where red lights are flashing, which indicates a train is approaching.

Failure to obey signals can garner a $200 fine and 30 days in jail for the first offense. The fine for racing a train is $1,000.

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