"In the event of a power outage or lack of signal, crossing gates are programmed to default to the 'down and active' position as a safety precaution. Preliminary information indicates the gates were affected by the severe ice and snow conditions at the time and were in the default 'down and active' position, as they are programmed," UTA wrote in a statement released Tuesday. "After an employee responded to the location, the gates moved to the up position."
Luckily, there were no serious injuries in the crash. Incidents like these are a reminder that it is a good idea for every driver to proceed with caution at railway crossings. The US Department of Transportation says problems with equipment were found responsible for 14 percent of incidents at railroad crossings. In 2015, there were over 2,000 incidents at crossings, and over 200 deaths.
Accidents surrounding trains and railroads occur, on average, every two weeks in the US, the DOT found, but we only hear about crashes when they get caught on camera. Like in 2015, when a limo teetered on a raised railway bed before a train pushed the stretched Chrysler hundreds of feet down the track. Or when a stalled semi was obliterated by a train in 2014.