When Do You Stop? What’s The law?

Photographer: Russ White

When Do You Stop? What’s The law?

SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – A Hendersonville man had the scare of a lifetime Monday morning in Springfield after his pickup truck was hit by a train after it stalled on the tracks.

According to Springfield Police, after the truck stalled, the crossing arm came down on top of it.  The driver then realized the train was likely going to hit his truck so he jumped out and moved away to a safe distance and was not injured.

The accident occurred around 9:00am at the Experiment Station Rd / Hwy 41 crossing. MAP

According to Officer Jai Pattie with the Springfield Police Department, the driver was cited for failure to stop at a crossing. The driver told police that he turned off Hwy 41 onto Experiment Station Rd and just as he did the crossing lights initiated. The CSX conductor was able to confirm the timing.

Officer Pattie said, the driver probably could  have made it across if his truck hadn’t stalled. “He wasn’t trying to beat the train necessarily, as far as racing it. As soon as he came off the highway onto Experiment Station the lights initiated. Since the arm wasn’t down yet the driver thought he had time to make it across.”

Officer Pattie told Smokey Barn News that there’s a 14 second delay for the arms to come down after the flashing red lights have been initiated.

According to Officer Pattie, the driver should have stopped the minute he saw the red lights, that’s the law. “A lot of people believe that if the red crossing lights are flashing but the train seems pretty far down the tracks they can still go, that’s not true. The minute you see the red flashing lights you are required to stop, just like any other traffic light or stop sign, Patty said.” “Once you see the red light at a rail road crossing, it becomes a stop sign.”

Officer Pattie offered this perspective, “A train weighs 432,000 pounds, and that’s just one engine, that does not include the second engine or the cargo containers that follow. So that’s (at least) 432,000 pounds striking your 2000 pound vehicle. That’s kind of like a human smacking a fly.”

In this case the driver was able to escape without injury, but many times a day in the US other drivers are not so lucky. According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office Of Safety Analysis, over 200 people were killed at railroad crossings in the US last year.

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