Union Pacific Helps
Law Enforcement With Rail Crossing Violations
The Union Pacific Railroad is joining
with law enforcement officials in trying to remove Illinois from the top of
a list they don't want to be.
The state was number one in fatalities
from vehicle-train crashes last year, when 26 people died. The 147 total
vehicle-train accidents was number two in the country. Union
Pacific's Manager of Operating Practices at the Salem yard, Kevin Dawson,
hopes a combination of law enforcement and education can continue to bring
down the numbers. "The weight ratio between a 12 million pound
train and an automobile that is three-thousand pounds is the same ration
between your automobile and a 12 oz can of soda," he says. "We
know what happens to the can."
And Dawson says the trains can't stop for
you, with the average mile long train taking more than the length of 18
football fields to come to a stop. As a result, the consequences of
trying to beat a train can be absolutely catastrophic. "They are 30
times more likely to die in a train-vehicle accident then they are with any
other vehicle," he says. "They must obey the signs."
Dawson ads over 50-percent of the
accidents occurred at crossings where there are lights, gates and
bells. State Trooper Marla Tolliver says law enforcement is serious
about the problem. "We're out there to assist the public and keep our
communities safe," she says. "Occasionally you need to hop
on a train to look for violations... it's all worth it." Tolliver says
prevention efforts include education and enforcement.
Police agencies involved in the special
enforcement effort for the Life Saver train ticketed 16 motorists in Marion
and Jefferson Counties who ignored the warning devices at a crossing and
proceeded across the tracks in front of a train. Tolliver said it was
scary seeing the view of the violations for the first time from a train