Dangerous Railroad Crossing in Columbia Missouri Claims Two More Victims

By March 3, 2008 Highway Safety

Tractor trailers carrying hazardous material must stop at railroad crossings. This has resulted in accidents at a rail crossing in Columbia Missouri. The most recent accident was last Friday. A northbound tractor-trailer stopped at the crossing and then was moving slowly over the tracks when it was struck from behind by Subaru station wagon. The station wagon was rear-ended by a minivan.
According to the Columbia Tribune, it was unclear whether the Subaru first hit the truck and then was rear-ended by the minivan or whether the minivan first hit the Subaru and forced it into the semi. The semi’s driver was not hurt. The drivers of the other two cars were taken to the hospital and listed in stable condition.
Last fall, a motorist died after his car collided into the back of a stopped gasoline tanker at the intersection. In 1997, another driver was killed when it hit the back of a school bus.
City officials have admitted that the intersection is dangerous and have proposed building a $5.5 million overpass for the trains. In the meantime, they are trying to get the crossing exempted from the state law requiring certain vehicles to stop at the crossing. From a safety standpoint, an at-grade railroad crossing that cuts across a highway with a posted speed limit of 70 mph doesn’t seem like it would be a good design. As Highway 63 near Columbia, Mo. proves, it is a dangerous design.
State law requires all buses as well as trucks carrying hazardous material to stop at the railroad crossing even if a train isn’t coming down the tracks. A slowed or stopped truck on the highway often comes as an unwelcome surprise to motorists. In the past five years, there have been 18 crashes at the railroad crossing, the Columbia Tribune reports.