Last week, according to SFGate, an Amtrak train struck and killed a man who was walking with a friend on railroad tracks in Albany. The accident interrupted train traffic between San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. Investigators interviewed the dead man’s friend to determine what happened. Amtrak said that none of the passengers aboard the train were injured and that they were transferred to another train and taken to the Emeryville station. The Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said the men trespassed onto the railroad’s tracks.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, between January and December of 2009, there were 153 injuries reported on train tracks, 85 of which were fatal and 28 of which occurred between Amtrak and trespassers on the tracks. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, trespassers now account for the highest number of fatalities in the railroad industry. They state that in many industrialized countries, suicides account for a large number of trespasser fatalities, and the proximity of mental health facilities to rail infrastructure accounts for many “hot spots” in trespasser incidents. They also state that there are many reasons for trespassing on railroad rights-of-way, some of which involve recreation and some that have to do with the romantic notion (planted in our minds by Hollywood) that such acts of trespassing on are some sort of type of cultural right of passage. Trespassing on railroad property is usually a misdemeanor, with penalties ranging from $100 to $1000 or jail, depending on the state. Reviews written by experts recommend, where applicable, increased enforcement and observations by local law enforcement agencies at crossings, especially near schools before and after hours, pedestrian clearance line be placed on either side of the tracks, and “No Trespassing” signs be place on railroad rights-of-way.
If you or a loved one fell victim to train accident, please contact the Brod Law Firm as soon as possible for a free consultation. Our train accident attorney can help you sort through any questions you may have, explain the legal framework surrounding train victims’ rights, and, if you end up filing a claim, help you get the compensation to which you are entitled.