A 76-year-old man was hit by a Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad train in Crawford County, Ohio on Wednesday morning. The railroad crossing has no lights or gates to protect or warn approaching vehicles and pedestrians of an approaching train.
A local who lives two houses from the railroad crossing says: "When you are driving north and the corn is grown up like it is now, you cannot see if a train is coming. There has been one other fatal accident since I have lived here, and that was also because of the crossing. It was a motorcycle that was hit by a train."
95% of all crossing accidents are prevented by the installation of lights and gates. This technology is over 100 years old. Unlike virtually every other type of technology, lights and gates have steadily increased in price over the years – ever since railroads were given the ability to charge the US government for these installations. Other countries have been able to install active warning devices at railroad crossings for 1/10th the cost we are spending in the United States. Until we demand accountable for these expenditures railroads will continue to milk the government for as much profit as they can drain out of the federal railroad safety program. This profiteering will limit the number of lights and gates that be installed with our tax dollars.
Us members of the public get outraged when we hear about $100 toilet seats being purchased by the federal government, and yet nobody complains about railroads charge 10 times more than lights and gates should cost. If they simply charged a fair amount for this type of safety device, then we could have lights and gates at every railroad crossing. Unfortunately, railroads do not like to maintain lights and gates at crossings. Therefore, they have engaged in delay tactics, overcharging, and diversion of funds to limit the number of railroad crossings that have lights and gates.