A Montgomery, Alabama dump truck was hit by a CSX freight train at 8 AM on Saturday. The driver, Jackie Carroll Kemp Jr. was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries reported. The CSX operator was uninjured, although the train itself did derail. Fortunately, none of the hazardous materials being transported by the train were spilled.
The railroad crossing at which this accident took place at was not outfitted with any protective equipment. The only warning device present is a passive crossbuck sign. Commercial truck drivers should never have to drive over unprotected crossings such as this. Active and protective warning – lights and gates – are needed at all railroad crossings, but especially those used by commercial truck drivers.
Railroad companies typically know this. Truck drivers are not supposed to have to drive over these dangerous crossings. The nature of the vehicles they drive increases the risks at railroad crossings – they cannot stop and accelerate as freely as smaller vehicles, and unkempt tracks can prohibit their movement and cause them to get stuck in more ways than smaller vehicles. It is simply a safety hazard that should not exist.
Given the truth of this claim, there are two options: either commercial truck driving paths are seriously altered in many cases to prevent drivers from crossing unguarded tracks, or railroad companies outfit these crossings with protective equipment. Only one of those options provides needed safety improvements for the public at large as well.