A 31-year-old Baltimore man was killed earlier this month when he was struck by a MARC commuter train in Maryland.
The man was walking on the tracks near dusk when he was hit. First responders pronounced the man dead at the scene.
MARC Train Service is a commuter rail system which has service areas that include Harford County, Maryland; Baltimore City; Washington D.C.; Brunswick, Maryland; Frederick, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia.
About every 3 hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train, according to Operation Lifesaver, a rail safety education organization. A motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle. Last year in the United States, there were 2,059 collisions involving trains, 244 fatalities, and 967 injuries.
Data from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis shows that Pennsylvania was the state with the fifth highest number of accidents in the last two years, recording 93 in 2014 and 78 in 2015. Maryland appeared about half way down the list, with 24 accidents each year. Washington D.C. was near the bottom of the list, with seven accidents in 2014 and six last year. Pennsylvania also has the distinction of being the sixth highest state in the country for train versus pedestrian “trespassing” fatalities.
And it’s not just pedestrians trespassing who are at risk. Earlier this year two railroad employees were killed in Chester, Pa. The men, ages 59 and 61, were working on the tracks with a backhoe early on a Sunday morning when the train struck.
Even though the engineer engaged the emergency break, it was not enough to stop the train in time. At the time of the crash, the train was travelling 106 miles per hour at a location on the tracks where it should have been travelling 110 miles per hour. The impact caused the engine to derail. More than 300 passengers and seven crew members were on the train at the time of the crash. A locomotive engineer and 30 passengers were hospitalized.
Almost a year earlier, another passenger train bound for New York City crashed in Philadelphia, Pa., killing eight people.
Late last year a teenage boy in rural Maryland was killed while he and two friends snapped photos along railroad tracks. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, deaths from walking on railroad tracks are up nearly 10 percent, with 483 last year alone. Many of the people, like the Maryland teens, were pausing to take selfies on the tracks or to pose for traditional camera shots.
Even though pedestrian fatalities seem to be increasing, the number of overall fatalities at highway and railroad crossings has dropped significantly with the installation, over the last several decades, of gates and flashing light systems.
However, accidents still happen. If you have been injured or a loved one killed as a result of malfunctioning railway safety equipment or an incident while travelling by train, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 1-800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.