CHICAGO, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois Commerce Commission recently held a Rail Safety Summit to discuss how to reduce the number of those killed or injured in railway incidents.
Panelists discussed techniques used to educate the public concerning the risks of railroad trespassing and law enforcement.
"About 70 people are fatally injured in train collisions each year in Illinois. Approximately two-thirds of such incidents are due to people trespassing in the railroad right-of-way, the remaining one-third occur at rail crossings when warning signs and signals are either ignored or not observed," said ICC Rail Safety Program Administrator Mike Stead. "Experts in the railroad industry, law enforcement, and public safety advocacy groups came together to discuss ways to prevent further loss of life."
IDOT's Elliot Ramos provided an update on the Chicago- St. Louis High-Speed Rail (HSR) corridor project
"In total, 80-grade crossings have received pedestrian safety improvements such as pedestrian gates and escape areas with crossing exit gates."
"Too many lives are lost on our railways each year, and most of these deaths were preventable. Today's discussion shed light on the challenges of improving safety for pedestrians at highway-rail grade crossings, reducing trespassing on railroad rights-of-way, and finding new ways to address mental health and suicide prevention," said Commissioner John Rosales. "Rail safety has too often taken a backseat to other areas, such as driving safety, and I believe the culture needs to change in approaching rail lines and grade crossings, whether on foot or behind the wheel. Working together we can make a concerted effort to address these important safety issues."
Experts said most railway deaths are due to trespassing.