What Happens When Big Rigs and Trains Collided–One In Sacramento and One In Nevada

Yesterday a train stuck a big rig in Vacaville, near Vanden and Canon Roads at about 8:30am. The train drove through a truck that was pulling a trailer, according to The Sacramento Bee. A passenger on the train said the train went straight through the middle of a truck that was pulling a trailer. A captain from the Vacaville Fire District aboard the train said by cell phone that the collision happened south of Vacaville where Canon Road crosses the tracks. No injury was reported to the big rig driver, but emergency personnel were assessing possible injuries. The truck driver told the authorities that he never knew the train was coming and that he was waiting at stop sign and didn’t realize the back of his trailer was on the railroad tracks until the collision occurred.

Just last month a similar accident took place in Nevada in which a truck driver plowed into an Amtrak train, according to that area’s local news. The collision killed six people and injured 20 others. Shortly after, Amtrak filed suit against the trucking company in Federal court. Now the trucking company is counter suing Amtrak and Union Pacific, the company that owns the train tacks that Amtrak uses. John DavisTrucking Company is facing a total of five lawsuits, and, according to court documents filed in U.S. district Court in Reno on Friday, their counter suit against Amtrak claims that the railroad companies did not adequately warn drivers of on-coming trains. They believe the evidence will demonstrate that this was an issue involving Amtrak and Union Pacific and failures on their part. They also claim that both Amtrak and Union Pacific breached their duties by allowing trains to accelerate during the approach to the grade crossing and in failing to install, program, and maintain the grade crossing predictor , associated circuitry, and warning device mechanisms so as to provide adequate warning to travelers on Highway 95 of the approach of trains at the crossing-all of which they claim resulted in the driver being unable to stop the truck he was operating in time to avoid colliding with the train. The attorneys for the trucking company have stated they have “significant concerns” regarding the manner in which Amtrak and Union Pacific operated that crossing-both in terms of the train and its operations and the manner in which the crossing was operated for those lawfully on the roads, including John Davis’ truck. So far, Union Pacific and Amtrak have not made themselves available for comment. Although railroad companies have a legal responsibility to make railroad crossings safe, it is still uncertain if that particular section or railroad was indeed unsafe.

Crews have already been combing through debris and have obtained two minutes of color video from Amtrak taken right after the train applied its emergency brakes. Authorities say the video indicated that when the crash happened the weather conditions were clear, the crossing gates were down and the horn and signaling device were operating properly. The National Safety and Transportation Bureau plan to meet with the truck company, whose driver was involved in the crash, and look into health and driving records of the driver and the company’s past. They say they have found the cell phone belonging to the semi-truck driver. The cell phone was sent to Washington D. C. for investigation to see if the driver was using it right before the crash, as it may have been a potential distraction in the crash. It will be around 30 days before a formal report is ready.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a train accident, please contact our office for a free consultation. Victims and the families of wrongful death victims have the right to pursue legal action in order to obtain compensation for their losses. Our firm has over 10 years experience fighting for the rights of victims and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.

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