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Basic facts and statistics about Illinois railway accidents

Here in Chicago, commuters have a wide variety of mass transportation selections to help them move about the city and local communities. Most commuters are well acquainted with the Chicago Transportation Authority, yet some area residents forget about the Metra and Amtrak trains that flow to and from the city every day.

Due to the high volume of rail traffic in Chicago and throughout the entire state, Illinois now trails only Texas in the overall number of railway crossings and cumulative miles of track. All of that rail activity has elevated Illinois to the top five states for the train accidents resulting in deaths and injuries.

Officials at the state level have become aware of the growing risks and are taking steps to reduce train and railway accidents. Beginning now in early August, Illinois is unrolling a week-long event called the Global Level Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention Symposium at the University Of Illinois. Organizers of the event assembled in Champaign, Illinois, to increase public awareness about railway hazards. Here are some interesting facts taken from the coordinator of Illinois Operation Lifesaver and other statistical reports:

-- Only 5 percent of all train versus vehicle crashes are the fault of the train.

-- It takes 100-car freight train moving at 55 mph more than a mile to come to a stop.

-- The impact force of a train hitting a car is comparable to the force of a car hitting a 12-ounce aluminum can.

-- Many of the train crossings in Illinois are on private property. There have been 485 crashes on or near those crossings over the course of the last 21 years at a rate of about one or two deaths every year.

Illinois residents have a right to be free of harm from preventable railway accidents. If you have been injured as the result of the train operated by an impaired or distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Source: The News Gazette, "'All they can do is pray'" Debra Pressey, Aug. 08, 2014

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