Traffic Engineering Expert Opines on Near-Fatal Railway Accident


Traffic Engineering Expert WitnessThis case involves a train collision in Wyoming that critically injured the plaintiff. At the time of the incident in question, there was construction going on at a railway intersection with a small intersecting road. A railroad worker was responsible for directing the flow of traffic through the intersection, as the electronic signalling device had been taken down as a part of the construction project. The railroad employee was serving as a flagger at the time of the accident, and had allowed the plaintiff’s car to cross over the tracks while traffic on the other side of the intersection was obstructed by a stalled vehicle. The plaintiff’s car was hit by the train, causing him to suffer serious injuries.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your experience in traffic engineering, specifically with railroad crossings.
  • 2. What best practices should be taken into consideration when preparing for construction in areas involving intersections and railroad crossings?

Expert Witness Response E-085875

I have 39 years with a major american city’s department of transportation, 13 of which were at the level of Assistant General Manager in charge of design, operations and maintenance. Also, I occasionally teach a class for a major West Coast on safer work zones, which covers the flagger situation, among many other temporary traffic control scenarios. I’m a registered civil engineer and traffic engineer in my state and have a national certification of professional traffic operations engineer. Flagger operations for temporary traffic control situations near rail crossings is discussed and displayed in the state’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The purpose of the flagger is to hold back vehicles from crossing the tracks so that they do not queue over the tracks. Based on the case description the flagger failed to fulfill his/her intended purpose.

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