CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - It’s rail safety week across the country and the Missouri Department of Transportation is encouraging you to be aware of the dangers of crossing railroad tracks.
“We have a lot of accidents that happen when people try to beat the train at railroad crossings,” said Railroad Administrator Troy Hughes.
Hughes said during rail safety week, his mission is to educate the public about train safety.
“Don’t become complacent around the tracks. Fortunately, you don’t hear a lot about train accidents, but they can happen at any time,” Hughes said.
Each year, in Missouri on average, there are 35 highway rail crossing collisions and more than five deaths. These deaths occur by people trespassing along train tracks.
“Typically around 16 a year, with about seven fatalities,” Hughes continued.
Hugh said it’s common for a railroad crash to occur when people think they can move faster than a train.
“This can include when the lights and gates come down at a crossing people will try to go around the gates in order to beat the train. But the train is going faster than expected and you will have a vehicle and train collision,” he said.
As a reminder, he said when you approach railroad tracks, you should be prepared to stop.
“Always expect a train to be coming. And if there are multiple tracks, there could be multiple trains.”
Hughes said as a rule of thumb, always allow an approaching train to cross first because on average, it takes a train more than a mile to come to a complete stop.