When train accidents occur, the results can be immense and overwhelming. The size and speed of trains brings death and destruction and when things go wrong. The main forms of train accidents are train derailments, train and pedestrian accidents, and train and car accidents. (http://www.angelsontrack.org/cts/ctsfacts.html )
A train derails about every ninety minutes in the US. This is because railroads are effectively self-regulated and few attempts have been made to examine or improve their safety by the federal government. Rail companies rely on technology that was developed seventy years ago, and in that time few measures have been made to improve safety. While few people are killed in these accidents, train derailments cause damage to property, and in some cases the environment. A train carrying hazardous materials derails about every two weeks. Sometimes this situations are so serious that local residents need to be evacuated.
Pedestrian Related Accidents
Being near trains either at a station, a crossing, or just the tracks themselves is always a hazardous activity as a pedestrian. Around three hundred people die in train related accidents in the US each year. (http://oli.org/about-us/news/collisions-casulties) A good portion of these deaths are suicides but many of these deaths are not by design. Hitching a ride on a moving train is a very dangerous activity practiced by many that results in grievous injuries and often death. Sometimes a pedestrian will fall into the path of a train and be unable to get out of the way before the train passes.
Car Related Accidents
Railroad crossings are a very dangerous place for motorists if not approached with the proper caution. There are about 5,800 car related train accidents each year in the US and the majority of these occur at railroad crossings. (http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/default.aspx ) It is important to be patient at a railroad crossing and don’t push your luck when the crossing lights go off. Don’t think the train will see you or be able to stop if you get stuck on the tracks. A one hundred and fifty car freight train traveling at fifty miles an hour takes over a mile to stop.
Another common form of car/train accident occurs when the car driver is unable to see the train and runs into it. This happens most often at night and at crossings with inadequate warning devices. According to some studies, 80% of railroad crossings in the US do not have adequate warning devices.