LEGAL EFFECTS OF USE OF INNOVATIVE EQUIPMENT AT RAILROAD-HIGHWAY GRADE CROSSINGS ON RAILROAD'S ACCIDENT LIABILITY

This report discusses the effect on a railroad's legal liability for railroad-highway grade crossing accident costs when that railroad uses innovative grade crossing safety equipment. Its purpose is to evaluate the assertion that a railroad's use of innovative warning device technology increases the likelihood that the railroad will be held liable for accidents at that (or other) crossings. The methodology employed in carrying out this research involved the identification and analysis of relevant federal and state court decisions. Three significant conclusions resulted from this study. First, railroads do not necessarily increase their legal liability for grade crossing accident costs by deploying innovative grade crossing warning equipment. Second, railroads should carefully monitor government and industry activities demonstrating the feasibility of new warning equipment because such activities may affect their liability exposure. Finally, railroads may deploy new technology at a particular rail-highway crossing in response to accidents at that site without significant adverse effect on their position in relevant litigation.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Systems Center

    55 Broadway, Kendall Square
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Office of Safety, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Glater, D S
    • Mond, T K
  • Publication Date: 1979-10

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 52 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00303169
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FRA-RRS-80-01 Final Rpt., DOT-TSC-FRA-79-19
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 15 1980 12:00AM