Train safety is still ignored
In 2010, 13 people died in train-related fatalities in Louisiana.
So far this year, Jeff Davis Parish has seen one train fatality, while neighboring Acadia Parish reported a similar death Wednesday afternoon.
Despite knowing just how powerful moving trains can be, people still sometimes try to “beat the train.” Sometimes these people trade their lives instead of waiting a few minutes for a train to roll by.
With approximately 160,000 miles of railroad operated in this country (according to the Association of American Railroads), we encounter train tracks and crossings each day. But even though people are familiar with railroads, they still do not approach them with the respect needed for a safe journey.
Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are considered private property, meaning any person walking or loitering in those areas is a trespasser. These trespassers can actually be fined or arrested. Some of these trespassers have paid with their lives when they chose to enter those dangerous areas.
A 150-car freight train traveling 50 miles per hour will take over a mile to stop. According to the Department of Transportation there are about 5,800 vehicle train crashes each year in the United States, most of which occur at railroad crossings. These accidents cause 600 deaths and injure about 2,300.
You might be able to beat the train, but if time isn’t on your side, the train will win. The only way to ensure your safety near railroads is to realize the train always wins. Pay attention to the cross rails and signals and obey the flashing lights. Even if the signals are not flashing, put on the brakes and look around the tracks to ensure no train is in sight. It might take a few seconds out of your driving time, and you might slow down traffic.
But that is better than shutting down an entire area because someone has lost their lives to a train.
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