CZ Strikes Truck in Lincoln (8/18)

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
Looks like two teenagers in my town lost their lives because they didn't feel like obeying crossing arms last night. I'd be mighty grumpy if I got on in Lincoln and then sat in the station for another 6 hours!

Linky

None of the nearly 300 people on the train were injured, the captain said.


The cause of the crash remains under investigation but police said the car drove around a railroad crossing arm.
The Amtrak train -- which left the Lincoln station at 12:05 a.m. -- returned to the station, where it was to undergo an inspection, Dale said. According to Amtrak, the train resumed its trip west at 6:13 a.m.
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
521
Treat railroad crossing arms as you would a gun. Always assume "that they're loaded"!

Yes, I'm aware that the arms sometimes come down by mistake (when there's no train approaching), but that is comparatively rare.

But surely, all these people who have been confronted with Amtrak trains have heard the horns or at least the crossing bells!
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,700
Three grade crossing incidents in 24 hours involving Amtrak leading to 3 fatalities and 3 to 5 injuries is reaching insane levels, and of course none of it is Amtrak's fault at all. I wonder what can be done to bring this whole sad trend to heel.
 

KnightRail

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
486
Bad choices have bad consequences. As long a people continue to play the game, everyone looses.
 

A Voice

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 6, 2004
Messages
814
I wonder what can be done to bring this whole sad trend to heel.
More respect for the rules of the road.

The problem is, of course, hardly isolated to grade crossings (or transportation, for that matter). People tend to treat Stop signs - especially in more rural areas with little traffic - as suggestions rather than a requirement. When a traffic light turns red, two or three more cars will go through. Traffic routinely flows right past the highway patrol a good ten mph above the posted limit.

Can you imagine if such infractions were so commonplace on the railroad or in the air? But on the roads, even resulting carnage is seemingly acceptable.
 

como

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
209
I was on that train today going from Ottumwa to Denver. The crew did a pretty good job of keeping people informed. It wasn't clear that something tragic had happened until the train backed away from the accident and all of the emergency vehicles and police were visible.
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,514
More cameras at crossings to provide automated enforcement. The fine/punishment need not be particularly severe so long as the likelihood of it being imposed is great enough for it to have a significant effect on changing behaviors. (Of course many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting such enforcement, which certainly doesn't help things...)
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
721
More cameras at crossings to provide automated enforcement. The fine/punishment need not be particularly severe so long as the likelihood of it being imposed is great enough for it to have a significant effect on changing behaviors. (Of course many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting such enforcement, which certainly doesn't help things...)
What jurisdictions? Do they actually promote trying to "beat the train" because government is trying to "control outcomes?" The same anti-government "libertarian" view against mandatory helmets for bikers?

(ducking....)
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,514
More cameras at crossings to provide automated enforcement. The fine/punishment need not be particularly severe so long as the likelihood of it being imposed is great enough for it to have a significant effect on changing behaviors. (Of course many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting such enforcement, which certainly doesn't help things...)
What jurisdictions? Do they actually promote trying to "beat the train" because government is trying to "control outcomes?" The same anti-government "libertarian" view against mandatory helmets for bikers?

(ducking....)
Eh, I may have been a bit hasty with "many" jurisdictions - a quick search suggests Nevada prohibits any camera (photo or video) enforcement, but it's not clear how many others focus just on red-light cameras or also prohibit grade-crossing cameras as well. But given the backlash whenever red-light cameras are suggested, I tend to think you're not too far off in your characterization...
 

Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
I think camera enforcement at grade crossings is a good idea, and this is coming from someone who is generally annoyed at camera enforcement. If the possibility of sudden, grizzly death is not high enough to dissuade people from going around crossing arms, the certainty of getting a ticket in the mail might be.
 

KmH

Conductor
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
2,055
Don't you know?

People regard all traffic signs as if they say EXCEPT YOU on them somewhere.

Yes. Install cameras.

Lets have Big Brother watching our every move as much as possible.

Part of being human is making mistakes in judgement.

Until they eliminate grade crossings there will always be grade crossing incidents.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,014
Why are Americans so opposed to Cameras in Public Areas that assist LE and Security Officials in their efforts to decrease Crime and acts of terrorism? They work fine in Europe which has a much higher rate of terrorist acts!

No one seems to mind the cameras in Banks,Stores,Airports and Las Vegas, except perhaps OJ!
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
721
Why are Americans so opposed to Cameras in Public Areas that assist LE and Security Officials in their efforts to decrease Crime and acts of terrorism? They work fine in Europe which has a much higher rate of terrorist acts!

No one seems to mind the cameras in Banks,Stores,Airports and Las Vegas, except perhaps OJ!
In some other (limited) instances, there are abuses when cameras spy on people without their knowledge or consent. Train crossings can't be counted in that column.
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,514
Installing and maintaining cameras at grade crossings is certainly less expensive than constructing an overpass or underpass. People violate traffic laws (whether railroad grade crossing or otherwise) because they can get away with it in most circumstances. When the equation is changed, and the likelihood of getting caught in almost guaranteed at a particular crossing or at least much more likely over many crossings, the behavior will change.

(Frankly, I'd like to have red-light cameras become commonplace as well.)

For those concerned about governments using camera enforcement to generate revenues rather than improve safety, dedicating all revenues from fines (over and above whatever is necessary to install and maintain the camera system) to one specific purpose, be it traffic safety or perhaps some sort of tax reduction scheme, instead of using them for general revenues ought to calm those fears.
 

A Voice

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 6, 2004
Messages
814
Part of being human is making mistakes in judgement.

Until they eliminate grade crossings there will always be grade crossing incidents.
Yes, there will always be incidents to long as grade crossings remain. However, the point is that people aren't using good judgement. Stopping or continuing on when a traffic signal goes yellow is a judgement call; People can and do get it wrong despite their best intentions (which can be an issue with "red light" cameras). But driving around lowered crossing gates isn't a judgement call - it's a clear violation.

There could be an issue at unguarded crossings, but there shouldn't; Trains are big and that horn blast is loud - You know if a train is in sight, and if so you stop. But since people can't be counted on to do the right or even sensible thing anymore, we're back to needing a means of enforcement - the cameras.

Why are Americans so opposed to Cameras in Public Areas that assist LE and Security Officials in their efforts to decrease Crime and acts of terrorism? They work fine in Europe which has a much higher rate of terrorist acts!
That actually argues against wider use of camera enforcement, if greater use in Europe isn't preventing the problems they're designed to catch. Indeed, grade crossing or traffic light violations (or terrorism) weren't as big a problem several decades ago when the cameras (largely) didn't exist. The problem is not the lack of enforcement but rather the lack of voluntary compliance. Stores and businesses didn't used to have cameras watching shoppers or security tags on merchandise, but now with those technologies they have a bigger shoplifting problem than before.

I'm not big fan of surveillance cameras in general either, but driving around lowered grade crossing arms or trying to beat a train is clearly the responsibility of the person behind the wheel. I don't have a problem with someone so obviously at fault being photographed in the act.

For those concerned about governments using camera enforcement to generate revenues rather than improve safety, dedicating all revenues from fines (over and above whatever is necessary to install and maintain the camera system) to one specific purpose, be it traffic safety or perhaps some sort of tax reduction scheme, instead of using them for general revenues ought to calm those fears.
I've mentioned this previously, and while I am certain it would be (much) more difficult to implement than it reasonably should, any revenues from grade crossing camera fines could pay for the installation and maintenance of additional cameras and general crossing improvements (center dividers, four-quadrant gates, etc.). The enforcement and safety measures could well pay for themselves.
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,514
Indeed, grade crossing or traffic light violations (or terrorism) weren't as big a problem several decades ago when the cameras (largely) didn't exist. The problem is not the lack of enforcement but rather the lack of voluntary compliance.
Is that true? Are there statistics to back up that claim? I seem to recall from a previous discussion of grade crossing issues that the number of grade crossing collisions/crashes is either flat or down from the numbers in the 1970s or 1980s.

I've mentioned this previously, and while I am certain it would be (much) more difficult to implement than it reasonably should, any revenues from grade crossing camera fines could pay for the installation and maintenance of additional cameras and general crossing improvements (center dividers, four-quadrant gates, etc.). The enforcement and safety measures could well pay for themselves.
That would be my preference as well.
 

A Voice

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 6, 2004
Messages
814
Indeed, grade crossing or traffic light violations (or terrorism) weren't as big a problem several decades ago when the cameras (largely) didn't exist. The problem is not the lack of enforcement but rather the lack of voluntary compliance.
Is that true? Are there statistics to back up that claim? I seem to recall from a previous discussion of grade crossing issues that the number of grade crossing collisions/crashes is either flat or down from the numbers in the 1970s or 1980s.
Yes, the raw numbers for grade crossing crashes and fatalities are greatly reduced. That was poorly worded; The problem is one of declining respect for the rules of the road and lack of good sense and proper judgement among drivers, and the mere presence of a camera won't restore that (still a good idea, of course).
 

Agent

Conductor
Joined
Nov 30, 2011
Messages
1,414
I realize now that this train would have mostly been the same train set I posted a video of on Wednesday. That was the second time this month I saw a vehicle drive past a gate, although it had been quite a while before this month.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,180
(Frankly, I'd like to have red-light cameras become commonplace as well.)
It was the stupidity of some jurisdictions that ruined it. Not only because some sold the rights to much of the revenue to private companies that would install and maintain the cameras so as to eliminate any municipal cost but also because at the same time, many places reduced the length of the yellow when compared to similar areas without cameras. I remember a big hoopla about both issues in years past.

I think camera enforcement at grade crossings is a good idea, and this is coming from someone who is generally annoyed at camera enforcement. If the possibility of sudden, grizzly death is not high enough to dissuade people from going around crossing arms, the certainty of getting a ticket in the mail might be.
And make them targets for potshot shooters in rural areas.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top