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Missouri authorities conduct safety sweep at railroad crossings

Motorists would be wise to obey all traffic signals for safety's sake. Although this is important at all times while on the road, it is especially important at railroad crossings. Motorists who ignore or accidentally overlook crossing warnings are putting themselves in grave danger of being hit by an oncoming train. This is why the Missouri State Highway Patrol has teamed up with local police in an operation to catch drivers ignoring these warnings.

The coordinated sweep, referred to as Operation Lifesaver, was a two hour operation in which local police wrote tickets for 16 drivers who were caught ignoring railroad warning lights. An additional seven tickets were written for other violations committed by motorists at railroad crossings. The operation targeted one particular county in Missouri which is known for having an inordinate amount of railroad crossing accidents.

The head of the operation presented statistics illustrating that there is at least one train accident involving a vehicle or a pedestrian every three hours in the U.S. Half of those accidents occur when warning lights and crossing guards are active, signaling an oncoming train. It is almost impossible for a train to stop in time to avoid crashing into a car which has disobeyed railroad crossing warnings, which makes it that much more important for motorists to obey the warnings.

Although many times train accidents at railroad crossings in Missouri are caused by careless motorists, there are some cases when it is not the fault of the motorist. In some instances, the crossing guards could be malfunctioning or may have been broken for some reason. The warning lights may also not be functioning correctly. In these cases, the motorist may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if he or she is injured in an incident.

Source: St. Joe Channel, "Operation Lifesaver Monitors Railroad Crossings," Alan Van Zandt, June 21, 2013

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