Railroad Safety Expert Reviews Fatal Train Crash


Railroad ExpertThis case involves an SUV that was struck by a train doing a re-positioning maneuver in Tennessee. The motorist was driving with her 2 children at the time of the accident. She and one of her children died and one child was left in critical condition with permanent paralysis below the neck and brain damage. It was alleged by eyewitnesses that there were no safety measures nor employees at the crossing when the incident took place. An expert in railroad safety was sought to determine if there was any breach in the standard of care on the part of the railroad company.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please briefly describe your work ensuring the safety of motorists and pedestrians at railroad crossings.
  • 2. Have you ever reviewed a similar case involving railroad crossing safety? Please elaborate.

Expert Witness Response E-006990

I served as an instructor of operating rules for train and engine service employees from 1984-2006 in various capacities on two class one and several short line railroads. While trains have the right of way at crossings, the railroad’s rules and regulations require that the “leading end of a movement” be protected by an employee and that crossings must not be occupied during such movements until it is known that traffic has stopped and/or the crossing is clear. Even though the crossing is marked with signs and a yield sign, it does not relieve the railroad from complying with the “shoving rules.” I have served as an expert for a case in which a railroad did not comply with their operating rules which require crew members to ensure that the crossing protection is operating and all traffic is stopped.

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