On March 9, an oversized rig and an Amtrak train collided in North Carolina when the truck driver failed to get his vehicle through the railroad crossing in time. At least 55 of the 213 people aboard the train were injured and had to be taken to a local hospital.
The truck driver, John Devin Black, is a convicted felon who has been cited for at least a dozen traffic violations, including speeding and several counts of driving with a revoked license. In December 2012, he was arrested in Illinois and charged with exceeding the permitted weight limit on his load. Black has also received a number of other criminal convictions, including violating a domestic violence protective order, assaulting a woman and several counts of writing bad checks.
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles has confirmed that Black did have a commercial driver’s license, but that no criminal background check was required to get it. No charges have been filed against him, although the train accident is still under investigation.
North Carolina investigators are working to determine why emergency railroad dispatchers weren’t told that Black was struggling to negotiate a tight turn across the tracks with an oversized rig. Black was only using the route in the first place, as it is the designated alternate for large trucks like his, as there are several highway overpasses on Interstate 95 that would have been too low for him to clear.
Railroad crossing technology outdated
In February, another railroad crossing accident occurred, this time in California. A train traveling on the Metrolink’s Ventura line collided with a truck in its path at an Oxnard crossing. Approximately 30 passengers were injured in the commuter railway accident.
Connecticut Senator, Richard Blumenthal said crashes like this could have been avoided with better technology.
“While it is too soon to know what may have contributed to today’s tragedy, far too many crossings nationwide rely on 19th century technology,” Blumenthal said in statement. “Modern engineering, increased education and stronger enforcement are needed now.”
Blumenthal introduced legislation to increase funding for the Federal Railroad Administration to improve railway crossing safety, after a similar accident occurred in January on New York’s Metro-North commuter rail system.
“These grade crossings are not accidents waiting to happen, they are accidents happening again and again, claiming lives and causing catastrophic injuries and damage,” he continued. “These deaths and injuries can be prevented through better education, enforcement and engineering.”
Pursuing a Long Island railroad crossing accident lawsuit
When you board a train, you expect to have a smooth and pleasant ride until you arrive at your destination. Unfortunately, outdated rail crossings and negligent drivers contribute to deadly accidents every year. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a railroad crossing accident, it’s important to have someone on your side to defend your rights.
You may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit in Long Island, in an effort to recoup compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses.
Contact the law firm of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye to learn more about your legal options. Call 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a completely free review of your case and discuss your next step with skilled railroad accident attorneys, serving Long Island and the greater NYC area.