(Charlotte, North Carolina – May 22, 2014)
Neither the Norfolk Southern train nor the 18-wheeler carrying concrete powder were moving at speeds above 10 mph, but the collision that ensued between the two at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of NS rails and Texland Avenue in south Charlotte, NC Thursday morning at about 9:40 A.M., still heavily damaged the truck and left the driver seriously injured. He was sent to a Charlotte hospital where he was treated for what were described as “non-life-threatening injuries.”
The force of the collision knocked the truck over on its right side, with the driver’s side bearing the brunt of the crash.
The grade crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. 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 and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.
When asked by WCNC-TV reporters, nearby workers told NBC Charlotte that they hear the train whistles every day, but stop arms and lights would make crossing the tracks safer.
The crossing averages about four trains daily at top allowable speeds of 15 mph.