The Arkansas rail network stretches for approximately 2,700 miles and houses three important systems: Union Pacific, BNSF Railway, and Kansas City Southern Railway. There are 2,460 railway crossings throughout the state of Arkansas. The trains have a variety of functions, the problems come from the fact that only 21% of railway crossings in Arkansas are equipped with flashing lights and gates. The lack of properly equipped crossings puts people at a higher risk of being involved in a railroad crossing accident. Leaving these crossings poorly equipped allows a lot more room for error, thus leading to an increase in railroad crossing accidents.
The fact that most of the incidents, specifically in Arkansas, were caused by railroad equipment striking the highway user, shifts the responsibility from the driver to the railroad company or the state itself. As previously stated, many of the railroad crossings across the state are poorly managed and/or underfunded, which may be the root cause of plenty of these cases. Thankfully, there have not been many incidents that have resulted in casualties, and we hope this is a trend that begins to show more throughout the year.
The Federal Railroad Administration website provides statistics and reports on the nature of these type of accidents and gives insight on the frequency of them throughout each year. 1975 is marked by miscellaneous causes and high damages while 2017 was a year full of incidents caused by human error and the highway users. The amount of injuries and damages done in both years show the fluctuating nature of these incidents. The number of railroad crossing accidents has significantly decreased; however, it is critical to note that there is much work to be done in order to prevent future incidents.
Below is a comparison of the years 1975 and 2017 and some examples of highway railroad crossing accidents in the state of Arkansas from the Federal Railroad Administration database. These are more detailed accounts of the incidents and show a wide range of damages as well as the number of injured people.
|Date||State||County||Type of track||Primary Cause||Equipment damage||Track damage||Injured|
|05.03.2017||AR||Mississippi||Main||Highway user deliberately disregarded crossing warning devices||1,000||60,000||0|
|07.26.2017||AR||Crittenden||Main||Highway user deliberately disregarded crossing warning devices||2,500||11,000||2|
|08.07.2017||AR||Faulkner||Main||Highway user inattentiveness||12,580||100||0|
|11.02.2017||AR||Benton||Main||Highway user misjudgment under normal weather and traffic conditions||16,206||0||0|
The Federal Railroad Administration has a compiled list of all the railroad crossing incidents in Arkansas. Below is a simplified version of their chart for Arkansas accidents in 2018 to date.
|Date||State||County||City||Highway Name||Highway User||TYPACC||Motorist||Position||Crossing Protection||Injured|
|01.04.2018||AR||Little River||Ashdown||N. Park Ave||Pickup Truck||Rail Equip struck highway user||Did not stop||Moving over crossing||Cross bucks||0|
|01.10.2018||AR||Ashley||Crossett||Waste fuel||Truck and trail||Highway user struck rail equip||Did not stop||Moving over crossing||Watchman||0|
|01.13.2018||AR||Faulkner||Conway||Bruce Street||Car||Rail equip struck highway user||Other||Stopped on crossing||Gates||0|
|01.16.2018||AR||Sebastian||Fort smith||Jenny Lind||Car||Rail equip struck highway user||Did not stop||Moving over crossing||Cross bucks||0|
|01.19.2018||AR||Pulaski||North little rock||Pike Ave||Car||Rail equip struck highway user||Did not stop||Moving over crossing||Flashing lights||0|
|01.22.2018||AR||Ashley||Crossett||RD to Plywood Plant||Truck and trail||Rail equip struck highway user||Stopped then proceeded||Moving over crossing||Watchman||0|
|01.30.218||AR||Ashley||Montrose||82||Pickup Truck||Rail equip struck highway user||Did not stop||Moving over crossing||Flashing lights||1 injured/ 1 dead|
|02.04.2018||AR||Jefferson||Pine Bluff||West Pullen Ave||Oth Mtr V.||Rail equip struck highway user||Went around the gate||Moving over crossing||Gates||0|
|02.09.2018||AR||Pope||E Ash St||Car||Rail equip struck highway user||Other||Stalled or stuck on crossing||Gates||0|
|02.27.2018||AR||Johnson||County Road 83||Oth Mtr V.||Rail equip struck highway user||Did not stop||Moving over crossing||Stop signs||1|
|03.02.2018||AR||Pulaski||Vimy Ridge Road||Pickup truck||Rail equip struck highway user||Other||Stopped on crossing||Gates||0|
No scenario is the same and it is quite hard to predict the outcome of such situations. At Bailey & Oliver Law Firm, we have years of experience litigating complex cases and representing clients who have suffered from personal injuries. With our representation, you can rest assured that we will go the extra mile to provide you the legal help you deserve.
Our office is located just West of Exit 81 off I-49 at 3606 W. Southern Hills Blvd., Rogers, Arkansas. Stop by our office or give us a call at 479-202-5200. We serve Rogers, Bentonville, Springdale, Lowell, Bella Vista, Centerton, Decatur, Highfill, Cave Springs, Gravette, Pea Ridge, Fayetteville, Huntsville, Berryville, Eureka Springs and all of Arkansas.