The Advocate: Amtrak train in 2 collisions; 2 die, 1 hurt
I'll spare you the gory excerpt from the story, just go read it. The fatal collision occurred at a private crossing. It was marked by cross bucks and a yield sign. I saw nothing mentioned about a barrier, though. (Edit: Found here that there were indeed no lights or barriers at the crossing in Louisiana. - T) The train was attempting to signal the car with its whistle, to no avail. Over the past few years, if there's one thing drivers in Tangipahoa have proven, it's that they have no clue how to stop at a railroad crossing unless you add barriers of some sort to the mix.
There was also a wreck beforehand involving the same train, up near McComb, MS. That one yielded a non-fatal injury. It didn't say in the story what condition that crossing was in. (Edit: There are stop signs at the Mississippi crossing in question. - T) There's no word out of McComb yet and the stories out of Baton Rouge and New Orleans say little about that one other than the injury, so I won't assume that one was due to driver negligence until I know for sure.
The same train route was also involved in a collision near Jackson, MS last week with a garbage truck, hospitalizing six.
It's obvious that Louisiana needs to redouble its efforts to educate the driving public about railroad crossings. It wouldn't hurt Mississippi, either. Also, both states need to look into these crossings and improve them where necessary. You can't count on people to resist the temptation to beat the trains. Obviously cross bucks and yield signs aren't enough, even at these rural crossings. What's obviously needed is something to catch the driver's attention even more, like flashing lights and barriers.
Until then, many more people will die at these crossings. For some, it will be due to their own idiocy.