Wisconsin Rail Safety Week Kicks Off: See Track? Think Train!

Law Enforcement Agencies Promote Rail Safety

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Every 3 hours a vehicle of pedestrian is involved in a collision with a train in the United States. 

Wednesday, local law enforcement agencies teamed up with railroad industries to lower those numbers. 

Last year, nearly 600 people were killed in the U.S. while trespassing on tracks, another 250 at grade crossings. 

Engineers believe the 3 E’s: Education, Engineering and Enforcement will help keep everybody safe. 

Trains are a lot of fun to watch and when you’re little they are a lot of fun to play with. 

But, a situation can become tragic in seconds.

“When those signals start flashing and those cross arms come down motorists need to know that they have to stop,” said Traffic Sergeant, Joel Kiel. 

Kiel wants to remind drivers those flashing lights must be treated like a stop sign. 

“People violate the red lights, they violate the crossing arms,” said Kiel.

As soon as the last rail car clears the crossing, make sure another train is not coming from either direction. 

“Wait for them to go all the way up and the flashers to go off,” Kiel added. 

Because this area has so much rail traffic, motorists have to be extra careful. 

“Trains can stop but they can’t stop quickly,” said Operations Lifesaver Coordinator, Susie Clinger.

But, in places like Superior accident rates are low. 

“We don’t get a lot of car-train accidents because in town our speeds are much slower,” Kiel said. 

Ignoring red lights or crossing arms can lead to red lights of law enforcement turning on behind you. 

“If they see a train they must wait there and when they go over those tracks, that is what we are stopping vehicles for. 

So Kiel says, “Stay off, stay away and stay alive.”

“Be patient, the trail will pass.  It’s not going to be there forever,” said the Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads, Jeff Plale.

If you were to smash a pop can with your foot, that’s exactly what a train can do to your car. 

That’s just one example of the potential damage trains can cause.

While we were aboard the BNSF train, 24 vehicles were given a citation and 4 warning were handed out in a matter of four hours. 

Fifty percent of vehicle-train collisions occur at crossings with active warning lights, gates, and/or bells.

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