Over the holiday weekend, four people in Missouri were hit and killed on train tracks. Three of the incidents occurred in the City of St. Louis and one in Ralls County near Hannibal. The Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Operation Lifesaver remind pedestrians about the dangers of disregarding railroad crossing laws and trespassing on railroad property.
“Collisions between vehicles/pedestrians and trains are tragic, but preventable,” said Tim Hull, Missouri Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator. “Railroad tracks are private property and trespassing is dangerous, illegal and it can be deadly. If you See Tracks? Think Train.”
In 2015, there were 25 trespass incidents resulting in 15 fatalities and seven serious injuries in the state of Missouri. To date in 2016, there have been 12 trespass incidents resulting in six fatalities and four serious injuries.
According to Operation Lifesaver, a national non-profit rail safety education organization, a person or vehicle is hit by a train approximately every three hours across the United States. Trains move faster and are much quieter than people think. Trains can’t stop quickly, they can’t swerve to avoid someone or something on the tracks and they overhang the tracks by at least three feet in both directions.
Pedestrians are reminded if they See Tracks? Think Train. Here are a few safety tips:
· Do not walk on or over railroad property – this is trespassing!
· Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
· Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes. A second train might be blocked by the first.
· Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing.
· Stay alert around trains. No texting, earbuds or other distractions.
· Never mix rails and recreation. Do not hunt, fish or bungee jump from railroad bridges or trestles.
· Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time.
· Do not take selfies or posed photography on or near tracks or railroad bridges.
· Be aware trains do not follow set schedules.
“A simple rule to follow around railroad property is: Stay Off! Stay Away! Stay Alive,” said MoDOT Multimodal Operations Director Michelle Teel.
Missouri Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade intersections and on railroad rights-of-way through public education, engineering and enforcement. To learn more about Missouri Operation Lifesaver, please visit us online at www.oli.org.