September is Rail Safety Month
September is Rail Safety Month. Remember to stay alert whenever you are near train tracks.
Did you know that a person or vehicle is struck by a train roughly once every three hours? Preliminary Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) data shows:
- 270 people were killed or injured at railroad grade crossings, up 16 percent from 232 in 2013.
- 915 pedestrians were killed or injured while walking on or near railroad tracks in 2014, up 6 percent from 863 in 2013.
From those trespassing on railroad tracks for a shortcut or recreation, to drivers trying to beat the train at a grade crossing, people don't realize important facts about safe behavior around railroad tracks:
- A typical freight train can take more than a mile to stop, even when emergency brakes are applied - the distance of 18 football fields!
- It's never safe to stop closer than 15 feet from rails, and a train is at least three feet wider than tracks on both sides. 95 percent of all rail-related deaths involve drivers trying to beat a train, or people trespassing on railroad tracks.
- More than 50 percent of people injured or killed while trespassing on railroad tracks have drugs or alcohol in their system.
- Railroad tracks are private property, and walking on them is trespassing - it's illegal and dangerous; you risk being ticketed and fined, seriously injured or killed.
Education and outreach is key to saving lives, and the See Tracks? Think Train!