Apparently there was another train-vehicle accident in Bessemer yesterday, making the fifth (yes, 5th) train accident in Alabama in one week. This one involved an 18-wheeler truck trying to beat a train across the tracks. Fortunately, no one was injured this time.
An editorial from the Montgomery Advertiser points out a recurring problem in the state with railroad crossings that lack proper markings and signals. The quthor refers to the following staggering statistics about the state of Alabama’s record on train accidents and railroad crossing collisions:
Alabama consistently ranks among the states with the highest number of railroad grade crossing collisions and deaths. In 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration reports that Alabama ranked eighth in both the number of crossing collisions — 113 — and crossing fatalities — 16. (Texas was first in crossing collisions with 324, and Illinois was first in crossing fatalities with 30.)
The editorial calls for a better (and more expensive) solution than warning devices: grade separation, meaning bridges over or tunnels under railroad tracks.