Florida Highway Patrol reported 53-year-old Mane Yee was struck and killed by an Amtrak train on September 9, while the Florida man was walking his bicycle in between train tracks.
The man was unable to get out of the way, despite the train operator using his horn to warn the man, according to authorities. There were about 100 passengers on the train, however none have reported injuries. The incident occurred in Seminole County and is under investigation for further detail.
Incidents such as these remind us that it's important to practice safety precautions to avoid accidents. Though Yee was on foot, it's also common for drivers to ignore crossing traffic control devices meant to protect the public from dangerous railroad operations.
Railroad safety laws
In fact, it is against the law in Florida for civilians to stop or stand on any railroad tracks, except if instructed by a police officer or if done in order to avoid a traffic accident.
For drivers, it is a traffic violation to drive through, around, or under any crossing barrier if the barrier is closed or is in the process of closing or opening.
Certain vehicles are required by law to stop at all railroad crossings. This includes any vehicles with passengers for hire, school buses with children aboard and vehicles containing cargo that is explosive or flammable. Taxicabs, however, are excluded from this rule. These vehicles are required to stop within 15 and 50 feet of the nearest rail of the track before proceeding over the tracks.
Drivers operating heavy or slow-moving machinery, such as crawler-type tractors, steam shovels, derricks, or rollers, must notify railroad authorities to ensure the crossing will be clear for traveling across.
Railroad safety tips
If you live near a railroad track or regularly commute across one, keep these tips in mind to stay safe:
- Do not walk on railroad tracks
- Look both ways and listen before crossing -- even if signals are not flashing
- Do not attempt to "beat" a train -- if you see one approaching, do not cross the tracks until it has passed
- Leave at least 15 feet of space between your vehicle and the tracks if you must stop before or after train tracks
- Do not stop on top of train tracks -- if there is a stoplight or stop sign ahead, make sure there is enough room for your vehicle to completely cross the tracks
- Only cross tracks at designated crossing areas
Remember that it takes the average freight train a mile or more to stop. If you or a loved one are involved in a train or other vehicle accident, call a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options for compensation. Plaintiffs who are attributed with some degree of fault for the accident may still be entitled to a percentage of damage costs.