According to WRAL-TV, an Amtrak train hit a tractor-trailer that stalled on railroad tracks in North Carolina, toppling the engine onto its side Monday and sending 55 of the 212 passengers aboard the train to the hospital.
This collision was the third serious commuter train crash in less than two months. The Associated Press reported that deadly crashes in New York and California in February killed a total of seven people and injured 30.
An eye-witness told several media outlets that the driver of the big rig was lingering on the tracks in an attempt to make a difficult right-hand turn on the other side. The 18-wheeler backed up several times in order to make the turn but did not succeed in time.
A few minutes later, the witness stated that she heard the sound of the oncoming train and saw the cross bars hit the tractor-trailer. The driver then jumped out of the truck. He is said to be doing okay, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The tractor-trailer, owned by Guy M. Turner Inc. in Greensboro, had a permit to carry an overweight load of 80,000 pounds, said state Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott. It wasn’t immediately clear what the tractor-trailer was carrying at the time of the crash.
At this time, there are still quite a few questions unanswered about this particular case. For example, did the semi driver have any advance warnings that the train was approaching? Did the semi driver believe he was able to safely make the turn? How long did the driver attempt to make the turn?
Under the law, before a semi driver can cross a railroad track, he or she must stop the vehicle within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail. Then while stopped, the semi driver must listen and look in both directions for an approaching train, and for signals indicating the approach of a train. He or she cannot proceed until it is safe to do so.
Based on FMCSA regulations, CDL holders convicted of violating state traffic laws concerning the failure to have sufficient space to clear the tracks completely without stopping must be disqualified for at least:
- 60 days for a first offense
- 120 days for the second offense in a 3-year period
- 1 year for a third offense in a 3-year period.
We’re sure that over the next several days, there will be new information that sheds light on this unfortunate accident. We are just glad that no lives were lost in the crash.
Every year, the truck accident attorneys at EJ Leizerman & Associates represents dozens of clients injured by commercial vehicle drivers who were negligent on the road. If you or someone you know have been injured by a commercial truck, call us today to learn how we possibly can help with your case. Consultations are free. You can reach us at 1-800-628-4500.