Pickup driver drives through crossing gates in Wakefield - train plows into vehicle

A medical helicopter was requested for the pickup driver.

The T reports buses are on the way for passengers on the train, 212 out of Haverhill.

Aerial view.

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What a jackass

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I hope wherever the pickup driver was trying to get to was worth the expensive risk he took.

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In a more just society they

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In a more just society they would suspend his license a month for every passenger he severely delayed and put in serious danger. In our lame reality he'll be doing dumb crap behind a wheel again real soon.

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Yes, but

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The person will need to replace their truck and their insurance rates will be going through the roof. Trust me, they'll be paying for this for a long time.

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Yes but

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their medical bills will be sky high - IF they survive. They were medivaced, and just look at where the train hit. They may well end up being Darwin Award winners.

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Also,

The driver is 70. He's not swimming in the gene pool any more.

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Oopsie

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I didn't know about the driver's condition (and I bet Kiponio didn't either) when I posted.

Hoping for a full recovery.

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Delayed?

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A month for the people he "delayed"? Really? He didn't set off fire works on the tracks causing the train to be "delayed". His truck became a magnet for the train. You are all so insensitive.

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The jackass is the one who wrote the headline

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without knowing all the facts, instead jumping to their own conclusion. Bad "journalist"!

Driver was an old man who must have had some sort of brain fade, not even noticing the crossing gates, lights etc.. Video shows he didn't slow down at all and drove through the closed gate.

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RMV doesn't do public health

With an aging driver population, it should.

Require all drivers at relicensing to:
1. turn in a doctor-signed form that they have had a physical recently and are fit to drive
2. pass a written rules test that includes recent changes in the laws and in lane and pavement marking practices in the Commonwealth
3. pass a 5 minute simulator screening test for reaction times and responses

This wouldn't discriminate against elders - it would force everyone to visit a doctor at least every 5 years and demonstrate basic fitness. Fail any of these and get a standardized road test.

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Everything can be fixed with more regulations

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Never mind that most of what you said is already required for older drivers and everyone already gets their vision retested every other or every third renewal.

No sir, can't let pesky facts like that distract from making normal citizens jump through more hoops requiring the employment of more (unionized, of course) state employees.

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Not more

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Better.

Driving is a regulated activity already. Don't like it? Try a state that doesn't regulate it.

Oh wait - they all do.

Hope you don't get pulled over when your Gadsden Flag "plate" isn't accepted as "unregulated" enough.

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Wow, a vision test every

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Wow, a vision test every fifteen years. What a hardship! That shit takes 2 minutes. You can't take 2 minutes every fifteen years to potentially save an innocent persons life? Car drivers are such entitled babies.

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You know what?

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You can't even transfer your MA license to CA (and other states) without being completely retested.

Ditto for all the provinces of Canada.

You would also have to prove physical fitness to drive.

MA ties with NJ and NY for the most idiotically laughable licensing tests of any of the states. Purely stupid lack of actual certification of fitness to drive.

Other states and provinces know this, so they make you start over.

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This is a terrible idea. We

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This is a terrible idea. We should not be requiring people to have a physical before renewing their license. There are a lot of people in this state who depend on having that license, and might not be able to afford the extra time and expense involved, since this would not only eliminate the ability to renew your license without going to the RMV, it would also require you to take time off work TWICE to do so - once for the physical, and again for the RMV visit. Even as someone with a white collar office job, that's an unpalatable amount of time off I'd have to take. Think about people who don't get paid time off, or have inflexible job schedules and/or family commitments that would make this very difficult.

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Ok, what do you recommend?

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As the roads are a shared resource, on which there is very little an individual driver can to do protect him/herself against people with medical or other conditions that impair their ability to safely operate a vehicle, what would you recommend? If there isn't going to be even minimal enhanced scrutiny to ensure that some drivers are still fit to be behind the wheel, should we require that they drive fluorescent orange vehicles so the rest of us can at least have some warning that, notwithstanding the state's reluctance to restrict the apparently God-given right to drive a vehicle, this person might present enhanced risk?

As you know, the state already has such restrictions - e.g., for persons who suffered a seizure regardless of age - however, the often depend on (nearly non-existent) self-reporting.

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Physicals cost nothign

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In fact, they are FREE because the cost of NOT having that physical is far higher - and we all pay for it.

You should have one every year. Making people prove fitness to drive is far more important than just testing elders.

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You know what is a terrible

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You know what is a terrible idea? Being ok with the status quo which is drivers killing 33,000 people in the US every year. Drivers take no responsibility for the death they cause. You should be getting a physical every 5 years anyway so you can't take one hour per five years to prove you are able to drive a 2 ton dangerous weapon? Pretty pathetic.

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First of all, thinking one

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First of all, thinking one person's idea is terrible =/= being okay with the status quo. All I said is just that we need to consider how much of a hardship it would be on the entire population.

Second, sure, YOU might get a physical every 5 years already, but does everyone? Hardly. Again, there are many people who probably cannot afford to. And you know the RMV is going to have a ton of requirements for verification, and a bunch of restrictions on what is valid and acceptable, and I anticipate this constituting an undue hardship on many people.

Third, it's not just one hour every five years. It's taking time off of work likely two separate times (unless your doctor's office is in the same building as the RMV and scheduling just happens to work perfectly), and I doubt either trip is going to take only one hour. There aren't that many RMV branches. It can take over an hour just to get to the nearest one, especially if you're dependent on the T to get there. Plus if we require EVERYONE to renew their license in person in order to provide a bunch of additional documentation, that's going to HUGELY increase demand on the RMV, which I'm sure cannot accommodate the thousands of extra customers every day. This will mean longer wait times. You may well be waiting an hour or more. There are plenty of people in this state that cannot take multiple hours off in close succession for both a doctor's appointment and an RMV visit.

Fourth, I'm pathetic because I consider the fact that there are millions of people from a variety of economic backgrounds living in this state, many of whom are dependent on having their license? Okay, sure, if that defines being pathetic then I guess I am.

I don't think the status quo is ideal, I just don't think the idea that I was replying to is a good solution.

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I call BS

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I had small children, worked two jobs, and went to school and I still managed to take care of a chronic medical condition.

You are full of it.

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Doubling down on your ignorance

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Again, there are many people who probably cannot afford to.

Physicals don't even have a copay, dear.

Why are you even in this state, again, if you don't get it?

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As a public safety issue...

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Physicals and most stringent licensing tests for new drivers and renewals should absolutely be the case. You claim plenty of people need a license to function in their day to day lives which is fair. However the pervasive notion that anyone has a "right" to be a licensed driver is inane; driving should be treated as a privilege to be earned and maintained, not a right. If that was the case we should do away with licensing all together.
FWIW commercial drivers are required to have an annual physical to retain their status nationwide. Why should operation of a private vehicle be any different?

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There is no right to drive

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If you choose to not take care of your health, you endanger yourself.

If you choose to not take care of your health and drive, you endanger far more people.

You have no right to endanger people because you are too lazy to go to the doctor or too stupid.

Choose not to take care of your health? Your business. But that should also mean choosing not to drive.

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I always go to the IRS to file my taxes in person

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eliminate the ability to renew your license without going to the RMV

The lines are very long, but I have to hand in those forms in person!

I also had to drive to the college where my kid goes and hand them the vaccination and health care waiver forms in person!

Let me know the next time you *have* to take your W2 to the IRS or the DOR - we can get some coffee for the long line wait to hand it in. Those standard forms just cannot be handled electronically!

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Fascinating

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Someone who posts 2/3 to 3/4 of all responses on the threads about guns and why guns don't kill people, people kill people and cars kill as many as guns, etc. is now throwing fits at the mere idea that we screen drivers for fitness to drive.

Really now. Terrified of doctors, much? Physicals are free in MA. Doctors have all sorts of hours to schedule appointments - my next one is at 7am, my last one was at 7pm.

That doesn't even get into the possibility of submitting forms ON LINE when you renew - you know, like people do with tax forms, or vaccination forms, or passport forms, etc.?

Geesh.

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Erm, I've deliberately never

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Erm, I've deliberately never posted in any thread on here about guns. So I think you have me confused with someone else.

And I was not aware that physicals were free in MA. Last one I had was years and years ago.

As to the idea of submitting these forms online, I'M NOT THE ONE WHO SUGGESTED HAVING TO DO THEM IN PERSON. I was complaining about Swirly's suggestion that we require everyone to do simulator tests, etc. each time they renew, which would logically have to be done in person at the RMV.

Finally, for the THIRD time in this thread, I DO NOT THINK THE STATUS QUO IS ACCEPTABLE. I just didn't think Swirly's specific idea was a good one.

Jesus christ does no one on here actually read comments anymore? Apparently not.

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I'm sure if Adam had access to the

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video BEFORE he wrote the story, instead of a single photo shot from the train after the collision, he would have written the headline and the story differently. And some of us who responded might not have had to speculate as to how the pickup wound up on the tracks.

But that's the thing with breaking news stories - they change as details emerge.

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Lesson: Journalists shouldn't draw conclusions before facts in

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Its OK for the peanut gallery amateurs here to toss around speculation, but the story headline should have just reported a train-pickup collision, which was known for certain with or without video. The other indisputable fact was that there was a raised median at the intersection, which would have made going around the gate extremely difficult, as designed.

Thanks Adam for correcting the headline. Shows journalistic integrity.

As to the competency of the 76 year old retired firefighter, that again is more speculation. Maybe he had his earbuds in while updating Facebook or playing Pokemon. Not likely for a 76 year old, but its one of many possible explanations. People here are running personal soapboxes off of theories without the facts, and it might be hard for the webmaster to avoid that too.

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Your credentials are ...

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Please tell us what your credentials are that you are whining about how Adam reported this?

And if you know this guy, why did you let him drive?

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Want to see the jackass, anon?

Go look in the mirror.

The Boston Globe report said that he went around the gates, too. This is breaking info.

Now go create your own perfect news blog and/or get a login. Whining is for people who are too lazy to actually do things themselves.

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Really

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Do you honestly believe he was rushing to get somewhere and just said forget the gate? Really?

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T just issued an alert that

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they are sending shuttle buses to pick up the passengers from that train. Judging by a closer look at the photo, it appears that the collision took place at the Broadway Greenwood Street crossing. If so, this is a very unusual incident, as Broadway has both gates and the "anti train horn" median separators.

Tweets from Fox 25 confirm the collision happened at the Broadway crossing - thanks octr202

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Greenwood?

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Where was this? Greenwood?

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uh

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"Truck collides with Commuter Rail in Wakefield."

This would imply that the truck drove into the train. By the looks of things, it's the other way around, and that truck done got jacked up.

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A more likely scenario is that

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the pickup came from the industrial building in the southeast quadrant - which is within the area of the median barrier (thus preventing a direct left turn onto Broadway). To effect the left turn they physically couldn't make, they went the wrong way on Broadway eastbound and were using the tracks to get to the westbound side of Broadway when the train struck them.

I see similar moronic "maneuvers" from drivers about once or twice a month at this location, although not when trains are approaching.

And a note to the Town of Wakefield - you can probably kiss your whistle ban goodbye. The FRA takes a very dim view to retaining whistle bans at grade crossings after crashes have occurred.

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What if the "median"

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What if the "median" continued across the tracks, by removing a strip of pavement? Then you couldn't do the zig-zag maneuver without going off the road.

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Interesting thought. However,

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if you did that and somebody tried to attempt the "zig-zag" anyway, they would get hung up on the crossing. Given the relative infrequency of crossing gate dodgers in relation to the total volume of traffic at locations like Broadway, I'm not entirely convinced that is a good solution.

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Not quite

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That No Left Turn sign is for the people exiting the strip mall in the northeast quadrant of the crossing. There is supposed to be an identical sign facing the industrial driveway, but it's obviously gone missing.

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No, there logically wouldn't

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No, there logically wouldn't need to be a no left turn sign there because we generally expect drivers not to be stupid enough to turn into oncoming traffic. It's expected to be common knowledge that on roads with medians, you drive on the right side of it. If you're on an intersecting side street, and there's no break in the median, you don't turn left anyway and drive the wrong way until the next opportunity to cross over (although, this is Massachusetts......). Plus, you know, the yellow line is kinda a hint.

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Yup...

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...I never travel thru there except by train, but looking at it on GMaps there's definitely enough space. The westbound divider isn't really that long, so it's possible he could have been a real idiot and driven around all the way from the crosswalk.

I'd almost say someone coming out of the driveway near the tracks would be more likely to stop, as they'd be facing the oncoming train, but I know better than to believe that!

I wonder if inbounds sitting at Wakefield cause the gates to come down at Broadway while they're in the station. That could cause some long gate-down times and encourage reckless behavior. Some of these Wakefield crossings really call for four-quadrant gates instead of median dividers as there are too many close approaches to the tracks...but I'm sure Wakefield doesn't want to pay for those.

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Thanks...

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...and that explains the slow speeds through there inbound, can't be moving that fast or they'd reach Broadway before the gates have been down for 20 seconds.

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The actual time between when the gates are

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fully lowered at Broadway and when the train arrives at the crossing are about one minute for inbound trains and about two minutes for outbound trains (yes, I actually timed it with a stopwatch at one point). I was once told that the lead times on this and other crossings between Malden and Reading are so long because the Western Route Main Line is the designated detour route for the Amtrak Downeaster.

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Implementation of four-quadrant gates also requires

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that escape refuges be provided on the exit side of the crossing. This is not physically possible at any of the Wakefield crossings without a significant rebuilding of the streets (North Ave/Albion Street would be a particular problem to rework), which would involve land takings as well.

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Happy to have no at-grade crossings.

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If nothing else, I am grateful for the zero at-grade crossings on my line (Worcester/Framingham) from my usual embarkation points (Natick Ctr and east). This, among other reasons, is why.

I have never been able to understand what compels people to go around crossing gates. I could *almost* understand it in parts of the country with mile-long freights, but not for a 6-coach commuter train.

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One reason why they go around gates

At the crossing where the Fitchburg/S. Acton line crosses Park St. in Somerville, the sensors that trigger the gates malfunction regularly and have done for years, especially in damp or hot weather. When the gates have been down for a while without a train in sight, some foolhardy souls go around the gates. They do it despite the blind curve about 50m to the west of the crossing.

One of the effects of this has been to condition regular users of that crossing to take their lives in their own hands when they judge the gate to have malfunctioned (even if it's only been down for ~30 seconds, and you can hear the train coming). Every day, we see people sitting on the tracks waiting for the light at Somerville Ave to let them move forward, only to have to pull up onto the sidewalk by the climbing gym because otherwise they're dead. Sometimes we see it happen on two or three consecutive light cycles.

It's honestly a wonder we haven't seen more fatalities in this spot over the years.

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Have you reported this to the

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Have you reported this to the T? All crossings have a sign on the gates with a number to call to report a malfunction.

I go through that crossing multiple times a week and I've never seen them malfunction. Though almost every time there is someone stopped on the tracks.

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Do Not Stop On Tracks signs

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are now pretty much standard at most commuter rail grade crossings, especially those immediately adjacent to intersections.

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Yes, we've reported it

I've lived here for over a dozen years now. The previous tenants of my apartment left a note by the door when they moved out with the MBTA CR dispatcher's number on it, because this happened frequently even then. And we've been pretty good about reporting it (although sometimes it's hard to give a shit because it feels like the MBTA doesn't).

If you only go through this crossing during rush hour, you may have lucked out. There seems to be a tendency for it to fail late at night (my GF works from home, and she confirms that's not just my bias from not being in the house during the day). Three weekends ago, it failed on three consecutive nights, each time after 10:30pm (once after mindnight), and each time it took over an hour for a repairman to be dispatched and resolve the issue.

And, to return us to the original question: each time, until Somerville PD had a detail on scene to keep people from being adventurous, some fraction of drivers would go around the gates.

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Quiet

The FRA takes a very dim view to retaining whistle bans at grade crossings after crashes have occurred.

Perhaps that's true but they haven't revoked West Medford's whistle ban even though there have been several crashes and even a fatality since the anti-crossing guards were installed.

If the drivers are going to ignore the gates and ignore the anti-crossing systems what makes anyone think they'll listen to a whistle? It would only serve to annoy residents and isn't going to be any more effective against people who are dead-set at ignoring the gates and lights.

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Enlightening Indeed

From the linked report which I very quickly skimmed:

However, accidents that occurred when motorists drove around lowered gates accounted for 28 percent of the cases when whistles were banned and only 15 percent when whistles were sounded.
...
Similarly, accidents where motorists struck the side of the train occurred with about equal frequency during both ban and non-ban periods (22 percent compared to 21 percent).

That report is from 1994 -- 22 years ago. Cars are more sound reinforced now plus other distractions (mostly phones) are far more common. And even still, the whistle ban only resulted in a 13% drop in people ignoring the gate.

Reintroducing the whistle wouldn't reduce collisions enough to justify the annoyance to the neighbors. It would have some impact, for sure, but people who don't care about the gates by in large aren't going to care about the whistle either.

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Truck plowed through gate at full speed

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Local TV news are showing nearby security camera footage that recorded the collision; the truck was going westbound on Broadway and plowed through the lowered gate at full speed before the collision; the truck never slowed down or drove around the median. Reportedly an older driver in his 70s; may had a medical condition.

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That was irresponsible!

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Whether or not the 70 year old guy had a medical condition, there was no excuse for his not slowing down and stopping his car before he ended up the tracks. If, indeed, the guy did/does have a medical condition, he should've slowed down...a lot, at least in part, to compensate for his medical condition.

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Update on train service for the afternoon

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The MBTA just sent out alerts cancelling the following trains:

4:48 pm outbound to Haverhill Reading
5:38 pm inbound from Reading
6:05 outbound to Reading
6:55 inbound from Reading

They also sent out an alert advising the 5:15 outbound to Haverhill will be making all stops between Malden Center and Wakefield.

No word so far on the status of the 6:25 to Haverhill. However, I'm somewhat concerned that the alert cancelling the 6:05 Reading train advised passengers to use the 136/137 buses from Malden instead of waiting for the 6:25 Haverhill train.

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Note...

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4:48 PM outbound is a Reading train, not Haverhill.

6:25 PM outbound (train 219) will run because that will introduce too large a gap in the already limited Haverhill service. In addition, they used to need 219's equipment to go to Bradford for the next morning, but I'm not sure that 219 is a layup under the new schedule.

Typically they would only cancel short-turns, not full runs. Just a lot fewer short turns now.

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Correct about the 4:48

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That's what happens when you type too fast. And appreciate the clarification on the 6:25.

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Video shows 70ish driver going through gate, not around

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So all the speculation about trying to save time going around gates is all wrong.

The crash looks much like video of drivers not noticing red lights and going right into intersections without stopping.

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TFITD

Too impaired to drive.

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