Keep rail-safety tips in mind
Illinois is home to many rail yards and many at-grade rail crossings. Many drivers and pedestrians assume trains are loud, big and slow, so they would see one approaching or have time to move out of the way if one comes. Wrong.
The sad reality is that this faulty thought process leads to 95% of all rail-related deaths in the U.S., with a person or vehicle being struck by a train every three hours across America. When this tragedy occurs, lives are changed forever -- for the people involved in the crash, their family, friends and community, and for the train crew members. In 2019, Illinois was among the top states for crossing and pedestrian casualties.
Fortunately, these accidents are preventable. Sept. 21-27 marks U.S. Rail Safety Week, a national event coordinated by Operation Lifesaver Inc. in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other safety organizations. The goal of the week has been to raise awareness and teach the public how to stay safe near railroad tracks.
You can do your part to build awareness by learning and sharing these key rail safety tips: 1. Never try to beat a train -- any approaching train is always closer, moving faster, than you think; 2. Always expect a train -- freight trains don't travel at fixed times and passenger schedules change; 3. Look and listen for trains as you approach a crossing -- obey all signs, warning lights and gates; and 4. Trains can't stop quickly -- it can take a mile or more to stop a train.
Please join us in our goal to ensure that caution around railroad tracks is as automatic for drivers and pedestrians as buckling a seat belt.
Emily Traiforos, GoRail State Director