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Why you should report a stalled vehicle on railroad tracks

Why you should report a stalled vehicle on railroad tracks

As many of our California readers know, transportation experts are still looking into the commuter train derailment that happened last month when an Amtrak train collided with a truck that was stopped on the tracks. As we explained in apost last week, more than 50 people were injured in the crash, raising questions about liability and compensation for the victims.

But new information concerning the truck driver's actions in the moments leading up to the crash is raising another question that could be just as important as the questions concerning compensation. The question is: could the driver have done more to prevent this crash from occurring in the first place?

Although the driver's lawyer claims that he took extensive efforts to contact police as soon as he realized he could not move his truck from the tracks, police claim no such call was ever made to 911. Depending on which version of the story is true, the driver could be held liable for negligence, which could play a role in any potential litigation later on.

Your actions could prevent injuries and save lives

As you may or may not know, it is considered a good idea to call 911 after exiting a vehicle that has stalled on railroad tracks because dispatchers can then contact the railroad company who can then alert any trains that are running on those tracks. Many rail road companies like Amtrak and BNSF also have emergency numbers people can call as well.

Especially in cases where a train is not visibly approaching a stalled vehicle, contacting these emergency numbers may be the necessary step towards avoiding a serious accident such as the one that took place in Ventura County. Investigators might consider a driver negligent if they fail to contact the right authorities about a stalled vehicle on rail road tracks. And just like in could in the recent case, this could become a factor in future litigation, both criminal and civil.

Source: ABC News, "Lawyer: Trucker Ran for Life After Stranding Truck on Tracks," Tami Abdollah, The Associated Press, Feb. 25, 2015

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