Trucking Company now blaming Amtrak and UP

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Robert Gift

former OL presenter
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/storie...VOL-?SITE=CODEN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Guess that all traffic signalshould be doubled in size and brightness, lest an idiotrucker run a red signal.

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- A Nevada trucking company is suing Amtrak and Union Pacific, claiming they failed to maintain a safe railroad crossing at the rural site where one of its drivers plowed into an Amtrak train last month, killing six people and injuring dozens of others.

In documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Reno, John Davis Trucking Co. claims the companies did not adequately warn drivers of oncoming trains, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Amtrak also has a pending lawsuit against John Davis Trucking.

"Our position is that John Davis Trucking has acted properly and has done everything right," said Steve Jaffee, lawyer for the Battle Mountain trucking company. "The evidence will demonstrate that this was an issue involving Amtrak and Union Pacific and failures on their part."

Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said his company had not seen the complaint and could not comment.

"Any Amtrak statements regarding lawsuits arising from this incident will be found in documents filed with courts," Amtrak spokeswoman Danelle Hunter said in a statement issued Saturday.

Union Pacific owns the tracks that Amtrak uses.

The Amtrak passenger train was en route from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay area on June 24 when Lawrence Valli's truck slammed through the crossing gates on U.S. 95 about 70 miles east of Reno and into one of the cars. Valli and five people on the train died in the fiery crash.

Amtrak sued the trucking company in June, claiming it was negligently operated. Suits also were filed against John Davis Trucking by three people aboard the train who survived the crash, and by a man who lost his wife and a granddaughter in the accident. They claimed the trucking firm was negligent in hiring and training its drivers.

In its response to the federal suit filed by Amtrak, John Davis Trucking claims the railroad companies were to blame. The complaint contends Amtrak and Union Pacific breached their duties "by allowing trains to accelerate in the approach to the grade crossing" and by failing to install and maintain warning device mechanisms that would provide adequate warning to motorists of approaching trains.

Because of this failure, the suit says, "Valli was inadequately warned, resulting in him being unable to stop the truck he was operating in time to avoid colliding with the Amtrak train," which was traveling more than 75 mph.

John Davis Trucking's countersuit seeks unspecified damages and accident-related expenses.
 

SamReeves

Foamer!
Unbelievable. Especially when the physics clearly show the truck struck the train after it was over the crossing.
 

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
Unbelievable. Especially when the physics clearly show the truck struck the train after it was over the crossing.
Are there also not advance yellow (RXR) signs well before the crossing?

They tell us to expect a grade crossing ahead and thathe signals may be operating and a train approaching and crossing.

No excuse.
Trucker asleep?
 

GLGken

New Member
Let me try to understand this... The trucker that struck the train is on a regular route that he uses all the time, should he not be aware that fast trains come thru there? Is this a failed 'see if we can beat the train' game? Were there any tire marks from the driver appying brakes to avoid the collision?
If a train was stopped on the crossing, and the signals not operating, would he have still broadsided the train because of non-operating signals?

I am a truck driver myself, all these fools hitting trains lately makes us all look bad! Can these guys lack the common sense that the trains always win if there is a tie?
 

BNSFEng

Locomotive Engineer!!!
Let me try to understand this... The trucker that struck the train is on a regular route that he uses all the time, should he not be aware that fast trains come thru there? Is this a failed 'see if we can beat the train' game? Were there any tire marks from the driver appying brakes to avoid the collision?
If a train was stopped on the crossing, and the signals not operating, would he have still broadsided the train because of non-operating signals?

I am a truck driver myself, all these fools hitting trains lately makes us all look bad! Can these guys lack the common sense that the trains always win if there is a tie?
There was 320 feet of rubber left by his truck. Two trucks following his in a convoy stopped A-OK without leaving tire marks. I was on The Cal Zepher earlier this month throught this crossing and I specifically looked at the roadway and the amount of distance this guy could see. First off, the train was coming at him at a slight angle from his right as he was topping over a rise with at least 3/4 mile to a mile of road before the crossing. The train has 3 bright lights and was blowing his horn. The lights and bells were working perfectly.

Now, nothing has been said about what was going on in the truck. No one has said if the stereo was real loud, if he was talking to his buddies on the CB radio, if he was texting or talking on a cell phone. We will have to wait for toxicology results and cell phone records or witnesses listening to CB traffic. It appears to me that this driver MAY have been distracted which is not a fault of the RR or Amtrak. What I wished had happened was that the driver had driven off the road instead of into the train when he knew he was going to hit it. Don't take other peoples lives when you know yours is going to end!!
 

GLGken

New Member
There was 320 feet of rubber left by his truck. Two trucks following his in a convoy stopped A-OK without leaving tire marks. I was on The Cal Zepher earlier this month throught this crossing and I specifically looked at the roadway and the amount of distance this guy could see. First off, the train was coming at him at a slight angle from his right as he was topping over a rise with at least 3/4 mile to a mile of road before the crossing. The train has 3 bright lights and was blowing his horn. The lights and bells were working perfectly.

Now, nothing has been said about what was going on in the truck. No one has said if the stereo was real loud, if he was talking to his buddies on the CB radio, if he was texting or talking on a cell phone. We will have to wait for toxicology results and cell phone records or witnesses listening to CB traffic. It appears to me that this driver MAY have been distracted which is not a fault of the RR or Amtrak. What I wished had happened was that the driver had driven off the road instead of into the train when he knew he was going to hit it. Don't take other peoples lives when you know yours is going to end!!
Yes, it would have been much better if he were to have tried to avoid the impact into the trainand headed for the ditch. Over 300 feet of skid marks show that he knew what was coming. Just how fast was he going before hitting the brakes? Hopefully the evidence will point to the truth of what was going on.
 

p51

Marty, it runs on steam!
Over 300 feet of skid marks doesn't really prove he was going all that fast. You can lay down well over 50 feet at around 20 MPH depending on the speed and weight of the vehicle.
I really don’t like to generalize about such things, but I work auto claims for an insurance company and I’m not the least bit surprised about this. In my experience, trucking companies rarely (if ever) accept liability for any losses. I have often had the conversation where I’ll call a trucking company to obtain contact info, and their loss prevention folks will often say something like, “My guy didn’t cause that accident. Now, where and when did this happen?” Seriously, they often tell us it wasn’t their guy, THEN say they have no idea what accident we’re calling about! If they struck any other obstruction, say a car broke down on the side of the road, they’d be toast. Any driver is obligated to keep his eyeballs on the road, and it’s really tough to miss something that big passing in front of the road for at least a few seconds before the truck came along. I’m glad to see the RR sued the trucking company as railroads often roll over and pay when they’re not liable to avoid the lawsuit.
 

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
Over 300 feet of skid marks doesn't really prove he was going all that fast. ....
Were the 320 feet of skid marks from just the trailer wheels locking up from being out of application balance withe tractor wheels?

Nonetheless, there are round advance yellow (RXR) signs informing that a grade crossing is ahead and that one must be in control of his vehicle and prepared to stop for a train.

Was the driver asleep athe wheel?
Do these trucks have speed governors? Or did the driver pick up speed on a downgrade?
 

cajon

Member
This is just the mouthpieces playing CYA games for the trucking company. They are diverting the blame from the trucking company to everything & everybody they can get away with.
 
Do these trucks have speed governors? Or did the driver pick up speed on a downgrade?
A speed governor only keeps the truck from going over a certain speed under power. Going downhill that truck can go as fast as the weight will push it. The company I worked for our trucks were governed at 65 but would easily top that going downhill if you let them. The engine will hold it back to a certain extent but unless an engine brake or the brakes are applied it will keep accelerating.
 

HDSDcouple

The Unwanted Line
Well I am stuck here, I see both sides of this probably more than alot. Before coming to South Dakota I lived in Nevada, owned a trucking company and know this crossing of the accident. I am not defending the trucking company by no means, however there are several spots in Nevada that trains do exceed track postings. I am sure this is to make up time. I had suggested that is the train was going faster than the posted limit he could have over ran the signals. And if that was the case then by the time the truck saw the train and tried to stop it was to late. I am not defending anyone just tossing another view into the mix. Thursday I cam across a CP train in Minnesota, it was going very fast by the time the lights came on and the craossing arm was stopped fulling down the train was already at the crossing and it was. Now imagine doing 75MPH and coming to crossing no lights on and there is a train at the crossing. All I know it was bad for trucking and trains now all the do gooders will want even more safety crap in place.
 

Birken Vogt

New Member
I believe the facts were in this case that the speed limit is 79 mph and the train was going about 75. It's been a while to remember all that now, though. Birken
 

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
Crossing signals give minimum 25 seconds warning

... I had suggested that is the train was going faster than the posted limit he could have over ran the signals....
The signal system has a predictor which determines the speed of the train and activates the signals accordingly.
If a train is moving only 10 mph, the signals will not activate until the train is quite close, maintaining a minimum 25 seconds warning.
 

HDSDcouple

The Unwanted Line
See I was understanding that the signals operated on the distance from the crossing, that when the train approached, at any speed, it crossed the sensor the lights activated and the distance the sensor is placed from the crossing depended on the highest track speed limit. Did it use to be that way? I remember as a kid standing by the tracks at the point where the train activated the signals. They came down no matter how fast the train was going.
 

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
See I was understanding that the signals operated on the distance from the crossing, ....
You are correct.
Many old crossings have a section of rail on both sides of the crossing such that when the train's wheels roll onto that section, the signals operate.
The length of the section is determined by the maximum speed a train will attain.
If a train is crawling, the signals may be activated for minutes before the train's arrival athe crossing. If the train stop, the signals will remain activated.

The predictor detects the train's movement/speed. If the train stops, even close to the road, the predictor will deactivate the signals. It will starthem up again when it detects forward progress.
 

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
I guess it can be summed up this way......LOOK.....LISTEN.....LIVE
Th.is for non signaled grade crossings. Not when you are relying on grade crossing signals operating properly.

I thoughthathis was the TRUCKERS web site.

The relay train detection system has threelectrically insulated sections. Forget whathe lead-in sections are called. The middle insulated section is called the "island". Whenever it is shunted, the signals operate.
 




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