The town of Ashland, Massachusetts voted earlier this month to apply for approval of a quiet zone at its Main and Cherry streets rail crossings. In 2005, a new federal rule was established allowing communities to silence horns as trains pass at-grade crossings. The United States had over 400 of these quiets zones as of September, 2010.
Although 25 Massachusetts towns including Beverly, Weston, and Concord have already established quiet zones around train crossings, the concept is so new that there isn’t much data on the impact of quiet zones on train accident rates. However, some town officials say it has not posed a major safety issue.
A federal study found a dramatic increase in collisions between cars and trains at certain crossings in the early 1990’s, prompting an emergency order that required trains on the Florida railroad to sound their horns. In the more recent case of quiet zones, the area must have a flashing light and automated gate to prevent crashes. Authorities may also mandate additional equipment or traffic configurations on a case by case basis.
Source: Safety vs. silence with train crossings, The MetroWest Daily News, October 17, 2010
Contact the Massachusetts transportation accident attorneys at Altman & Altman if you have been involved in a car, train, truck, or other type of accident.