FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – For the second time this week, authorities in Monroe County are investigating an accident at a railroad crossing on Indian Springs Drive.
On Tuesday morning, a Norfolk Southern train collided with a red Chevy Cobalt on the tracks near Highway 83. The driver was ejected from the car and remains in the hospital. According to a news release by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, the driver was the only one in the car and was not wearing a seat belt. On Sunday, afternoon, a train struck a pickup truck at the same location. Both the driver and passenger were injured and taken to the hospital.
This railroad crossing does not have safety arms that lower when a train is approaching. The two accidents at the same crossing have raised concerns in the community about safety precautions and crossing arms. However, law enforcement thinks this is an isolated incident.
"It is certainly under investigation," said Lieutenant Brad Freeman with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, "but seeing as how the intersection hasn't really changed in several years, it looks to me like driver error on both parts."
Richard Harris, Director of Corporate Communications with Norfolk Southern, said it is up to the Georgia Department of Transportation to determine if railroad crossing signals are needed. The decision is based on city officials, accident history and federal funding.
"It is the responsibility of the driver to slow down and look and make sure it's safe to cross," said Richard Harris, Director of Corporate Communications with Norfolk Southern.
Norfolk Southern is also actively interested in closing certain intersections to eliminate risks. However, closings can slow down traffic and travel for emergency vehicles. Overall, Harris said the best form of prevention is education.
"We tell them to 'look, listen and live'," Harris said.
According to Harris, about six trains cross the track on Indian Springs Road daily.