The state of Connecticut is still criss-crossed with train tracks, and though it might seem a picturesque nod to an era long passed, residents should be aware that the tracks are still active and used daily by commuter and freight trains. Though many drivers consider it a bother to stop when the safety rails lower, indicating a train is approaching, state police are urging people to stop as soon as the signal begins, even if they think the train is still a long way off. During the recent Rail Safety Week, officials have started a campaign to help people avoid becoming a victim of a public transit accident.
In what Connecticut police have dubbed "Operation Clear the Tracks," an effort is being made to warn drivers and pedestrians to stay off the tracks. Though many places where vehicle traffic crosses a train track have warning lights and safety rails, people who cross on foot or an off-road vehicle may have no warning at all. It has been estimated that thousands of people are injured attempting to cross train tracks nationwide every year.
Last year, a man was injured after being struck by a train. Police and railroad representatives warn drivers and pedestrians that even if they cannot see or hear an approaching train, they should stay well clear of the tracks, especially when safety signals are flashing. Trains cannot stop quickly, and they cannot maneuver away from the tracks, so if a vehicle becomes disabled on the tracks, it could mean certain death. If a train strikes an object on the track, such as an animal or even a bicycle, the train may derail, potentially injuring a large number of passengers and bystanders.
When a person is injured in a public transit accident, he or she may feel helpless. A victim may have to face medical bills and miss work due to injuries. In many cases, seeking the help of an experienced attorney can help a victim decide which direction to take. An attorney can often explain what legal recourse may be available and represent a client's rights and interests as he or she attempts to hold a negligent party responsible.