When 65-year-old Sylvester Young went for a truck drive yesterday, he had no way of knowing it would be his last ride. Hit by a train while trying to turn onto a private driveway, Young’s death was gruesome – and perhaps preventable. Bystanders think he was not aware he was in any danger. Even worse, the railroad crossing that killed him lacked railroad arms and warning lights, though there were warning signs.
Unfortunately, Young’s death is another symptom of the nationwide train safety crisis. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that of approximately 150,000 public-grade railroad crossings, only 35,000 have gates and 25,000 have flashing lights. A mere 1,000 crossings have traffic signals with flashing warnings and bells. That means that the vast majority of railroad crossings are unprotected – and that drivers and pedestrians have to be extra-careful when it comes to crossing railroad tracks.