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Police cite over 20 drivers who fail to follow train warnings

Six years ago, the St. Landry Parish police started conducting a safety exercise organized by Operation Lifesaver Union Pacific C.A.R.E. (Crossing Accident Reduction Education). The exercise aims to ultimately reduce car accidents with trains. The public is aware of the exercise and appears to be more cautious around railroad crossings in recent years. Of course, there are still drivers, including bus drivers, who fail to follow all of the relevant laws.

The safety exercises involve local officers riding the trains to observe whether drivers are trying to avoid serious injury and accidents by following the rules associated with trains and railroad crossings. The police on the train watch crossings to see if drivers try to beat the trains or engage in other conduct that may put them at risk or subject them to liability in the event of accident.

This year, officers issued 22 citations, far fewer than the number of tickets they wrote six years ago. Authorities did take note of one particularly disturbing violation, however. A bus driver failed to stop at a cross, open the bus door and determine if a train was coming even though the law mandates such action.

Louisianans who ride buses should take interest in all bus-related regulations. Those who are injured in a bus accident may be able to rely on the failure to follow regulations to demonstrate liability and recover damages for injuries. For example, if a bus driver's failure to stop at a train crossing causes a train to hit the bus, and the impact results in injuries, a passenger can focus on this to support a personal injury lawsuit against the bus company.

Trains pose uniquely dangerous situations for drivers. Passengers who depend on common carriers like buses to transport them are particularly vulnerable. Fortunately, the law carves out additional protective regulations and provides additional means for people to recover from resulting accidents.

Source: KATC.com, "Safety exercise yields 22 citations," Melissa Canone, April 30, 2013

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