(Lawrence County, Alabama – June 9, 2013)
The existence of the dangerous, unguarded Norfolk Southern railroad crossing of County Road 434 in Lawrence County, AL, near Hillsboro, AL, skirted tragic death but not serious injury for a family consisting of a husband, wife and their two juvenile children, a boy and a girl, all who were transported to a hospital where they were admitted for serious, but non-life-threatening, injuries Sunday afternoon at about 3:00 P.M.
The CR 434/NS intersection accommodates a daily average of 13 trains at a top timetable speed of 60 mph, yet still utilizes only a pair of standard, passive railroad crossbucks and two highway “stop” signs.
This incident happened at a dangerous, unguarded crossing. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both Norfolk Southern and Operation Lifesaver know lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights can gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.
Sunday’s accident was the sixth accident occurring at the crossing and the first multiple-injury incident it has experienced thus far.