Sat May 30 14:02:13 PDT 2015
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Staying Safe at Railroad Tracks
Blake Benberry

"International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) is on June 3RD. In an effort to prevent more railroad fatalities, Operation Lifesaver, Inc., the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Railroad Administrations have launched a new campaign, “See Tracks, Think Train." The campaign will launch with a video PSA aimed at educating pedestrians and drivers about safe behavior around railroad crossing grades. Viewers will also be educated on proper railroad safety when driving and walking. Just last year, there were 15 train fatalities in Alabama, up 200 percent from 2013. A few quick tips for approaching railroad tracks: Never walk on tracks. It is illegal. By the time a locomotive engineer spots a pedestrian or vehicle on the tracks, it's too late. It takes the average freight train more than a mile---or 18 football fields---to stop. Trains have the right away 100 percent of the time. You should only cross train tracks at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings. There should be no texting, headphones or other distractions when approaching railroad tracks. Local authorities say it all comes down to personal responsibility and common sense. "A lot of the times if we just take the scenic route, it's a lot safer than being on a train track--even when you're operating a motor vehicle. There are things in place to stop those vehicles from going across the tracks when trains are coming or when there is notification of a train coming. You have to heed to those devices. A lot of the time, people want to take the shortcut and go around it--they are in a rush. Sometimes, being patient can be the difference between you living and dying," said Dothan Police Sgt., Maurice Eggleston. According to Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a motorist is 20 times more likely to die in a collision with a train than with another vehicle. Best way to avoid that is to stop at least 15 feet from railroad tracks and wait when red lights are flashing and crossing arms are lowering. If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming.

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