Railroad crossings protected with lights and gates are at least 90% effective in preventing accidents, according to industry experts. Railroad companies typically do not spend their own funds to install these safety devices at crossings, although there is no legal reason they could not spend their own money. It is railroad industry practice to wait or to delay the implementation of safety precautions until taxpayer money is allocated by the government before a crossing receives modern warning devices. Usually, a crossing is not designated by the government to be equipped with such warning devices until several accidents, often fatal, have occurred at that
Also, in the 1970s, a Federally funded study found that the railroad warning horns are ineffective to warn the public of a train’s approach in modern, more soundproofed, automobiles. Despite this fact, the railroad industry has done little to
nothing to increase the audibility of its trains.
The Florida Highway Patrol recently reported that a mother (Melissa Johnson) and two sons (ages 9 and 6) were recently killed at a railroad crossing. There was just a stop sign at this railroad crossing. There were no crossing arms, gates, lights, or other safety precautions in place. This railroad tragedy involved an Amtrak train carrying over 200 passengers heading to Jacksonville, Florida. You can read more about this story at Tragic Train Accident Ends Life of Putnam County Mother and Two Children.