(Franklin, Tennessee December 29, 2016)
An unsuspecting FedEx driver was airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, TN, with serious injuries after the cargo truck he was operating was hit by a CSX train in Franklin, TN. The collision occurred at approximately 3:48 P.M. Thursday afternoon when a northbound CSX train consisting of four locomotives powering 33 freight cars destined for Memphis, TN, struck a FedEx truck at a dangerous and unguarded private drive crossing near Clovercroft Road in Franklin, TN.
The FedEx driver, Stephen McMaster III, 34, was traveling north on Wilson Pike, which parallels CSX track, when he made a left turn onto a private drive, where he immediately encountered the train. It is doubtful that the driver heard or saw the oncoming train, as federal rules do not require train operators to whistle at crossings designated as private. Law enforcement officials confirmed that the driver had his seat belt buckled and an unidentified good Samaritan witness helped extricate the victim from the wreckage.
News media also reported that charges were pending against the driver, even though the crossing completely lacked any form of active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with signals, such as lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both CSX and Operation Lifesaver know that 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 and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.