Monday, November 08, 2010

Drivers Still Ignore Common Sense At Railroad Crossings

A driver in Plauderville, New Jersey is very lucky this morning after engaging in an act of supreme stupidity. The driver apparently decided that the railroad crossing gates were optional at Midland Avenue and attempted to drive around them even though a NJ Transit train was fast approaching.

The train had no chance to slow down. It clipped the car and the train thudded to a stop about a half mile down the track. I should know, since I was on board with Mrs. Lawhawk. We were delayed about 20-30 minutes while police and emergency crews responded. I was actually surprised at how quickly they were able to get the train moving again.

If this scenario sounds familiar, it's because I've written about this issue in the past - and at this very location.

The fact is that all too many people see this:

... and ignore it. 

NJ Transit and local authorities have ample evidence that this is a dangerous crossing and that no amount of action short of eliminating the crossing will be sufficient to prevent accidents here. Midland Avenue crosses at an extreme angle and cars are more than willing to chance crossing even though the gates are down rather than make the crossing at Market Street.

Also, I want to thank the crew of the train for keeping the passengers informed as to the ongoing situation. When NJ Transit does something wrong, I let them hear it, but in this case when their personnel did something right, I want to let them know it as well.

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