News sources reported a fatal train accident in San Jose, California Tuesday
afternoon after a VTA light rail train struck and killed a pedestrian.
Authorities said the accident occurred shortly after 4:00 p.m. near Fruitdale
Station. According to reports, a pedestrian was trapped beneath the train
and died after being rescued by emergency responders.
A VTA spokesperson stated that the “pedestrian was trespassing, not
in [a] crosswalk when hit.”
Others believe the accident calls for stricter safety measures at the intersection.
One woman told an ABC7 reporter that VTA should enforce horns at the crossing,
which train operators currently do not sound as they approach.
On her Twitter account the reporter also stated, “People say there
have been fatal pedestrian accidents on these tracks at least two other
A sign near the tracks tells pedestrians to look both ways because there
is no train horn.
Federal Railroad Administration Rules and “No Train Horn” Quiet Zones
Federal regulations require train operators to sound a horn between 15
and 20 seconds before approaching public crossings. Unless the train is
traveling more than 60 miles per hour, the operator cannot sound the horn
more than ¼ mile before the intersection.
There are exceptions to this rule though. These areas are “quiet
zones,” and include the crossing near Fruitdale Station in San Jose.
By law, an intersection is a quiet zone when locomotive operators only
sound horns during emergencies. In order to establish a quiet zone, communities
must request approval through local authorities.
Quiet Zones and Train Accident Liability
According to the FRA, the courts are responsible to determine who is liable
for collisions at quiet zone railway crossings. Liability is “based
upon the facts of each case, as a collision may have been caused by factors
other than the absence of an audible warning,” the FRA states.
Many circumstances contribute to train-pedestrian accidents, but the risks
associated with quiet zones can increase the likelihood of as catastrophic
For more information about train accidents and your legal rights, speak
with a San Jose personal injury lawyer from Habbas & Associates.