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The Hart Law Firm

Risk Factors of Crew Change Transportation and Pick-Ups for Railroad Workers

It has been nearly 11 hours since you fired up the train’s engine for your shift. You pulled into the station about 15 minutes ago, anxiously awaiting your pick-up as you’ve been on your feet all day and are looking forward to getting to your hotel. However, the van that is supposed to be transporting you and your co-workers to the hotel is running late. When it finally arrives, the driver stumbles out and tells you that before he can take you to the hotel, he needs to get some coffee. You can see that he has large bags under his eyes, and looks pretty much how you feel.

All you want to do is get to the hotel in one piece. You thought the point of having a driver pick you up was safety. You’re tired and need adequate transportation. However, at this point, you’re not quite sure how safe you and your mates are.

Are railroad pick-up services safe? What should you be aware of before agreeing to a pick-up as opposed to getting a taxi? What happens if you’re in an accident?

Railroad Contract Carrier Risks

Due to longer routes being established over the past several years, railroads have had to increase crew change points in order to stay within the federal hours of service limitations. This basically means that when a crew’s maximum hours have been worked, the train must stop and a new crew must take over.

Unfortunately, due to the crew changeover guidelines, the departing crew must have some sort of transportation to either get them back to their homes or to a hotel until their next shift. As a result, railroads contract outside vendors to pick up crews and transport them to a specified location (in some cases across state lines and farther than 100 miles). These transports are known as carryalls or “Limos,” and are usually small vans.

Although transport is needed and appreciated, carryalls can pose many dangers for accidents, due to the following risks:

  • Poor vehicle maintenance. Since the transport vehicles are usually small eight-passenger vans and are not considered commercial vehicles, maintenance and passenger safety laws are not required. Therefore, even though repetitive long distances put extra strain on vehicles, owners and drivers aren’t required to put in extra maintenance, making the safety of the vehicle questionable at best.
  • Driver risks. Many carryall drivers are overworked and underpaid; this not only causes physical fatigue risks, but also a certain disdain for their job, resulting in less care and attention being placed on their driving.
  • Late night pick-ups. Since pick-ups are usually scheduled after-hours, normal driving risks, such as visibility, driver fatigue, drunk drivers, etc., increase.

Picking Yourself Up After a Carryall Accident

No one should ever have to feel unsafe as a result of doing their job. This is why the Federal Employers Liability Act guarantee railroad worker safety, on and off the tracks. If you’ve been injured as a result of a carryall accident during transport, you’re entitled to treatment compensation and damage benefits. Contact us today to discuss your legal options and see how we can help pick you up after an accident.

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