Cal­trans Re­minds Res­i­dents To Be Aware Around Rails

The Oakdale Leader - - NEWS -

As Cal­i­for­nia re­mains num­ber one in the na­tion for fa­tal­i­ties at rail­road cross­ings, Cal­trans re­minds Cal­i­for­ni­ans to re­mem­ber the risks and dan­gers around trains and rail­road tracks and to prac­tice safe be­hav­ior around them dur­ing U.S. Rail Safety Week, ob­served Sept. 24-30.

With at-grade rail cross­ing fa­tal­i­ties in Cal­i­for­nia up nearly 80 per­cent be­tween 2015 and 2016, this is an op­por­tu­nity to re­mind pedes­tri­ans and mo­torists how they can help re­duce the uptick in in­ci­dents and fa­tal­i­ties across rail net­works in Cal­i­for­nia. Escalon has mul­ti­ple cross­ings in the city and many in the ru­ral area sur­round­ing the com­mu­nity, mak­ing the Cal­trans re­minder all the more im­por­tant.

“It is vi­tal that peo­ple un­der­stand that it is never worth tak­ing a short­cut across the tracks or try­ing to beat a train by driv­ing around the rail­road cross­ing gates,” said Cal­trans Di­rec­tor Mal­colm Dougherty. “Rail Safety Week is an op­por­tu­nity to re­mind mo­torists, bi­cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans to stay alert around rail­road tracks.”

Ac­cord­ing to Fed­eral Rail­road Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FRA) statis­tics, fa­tal­i­ties at at­grade cross­ings rose 79.3 per­cent from 2015 to 2016, rank­ing Cal­i­for­nia as num­ber one in the na­tion for that statis­tic as well. An at-grade cross­ing is a lo­ca­tion where a pub­lic or pri­vate road, street, side­walk or path­way in­ter­sects rail­road tracks at the same level. In­juries and fa­tal­i­ties can oc­cur when driv­ers at­tempt to drive around low­ered gates or do not com­pletely clear the cross­ing.

FRA statis­tics also rank Cal­i­for­nia as num­ber one for tres­pass ca­su­al­ties in the na­tion, with 101 deaths and 90 in­juries re­ported in 2016. This is a 17.4 per­cent jump from 2015. In­juries due to tres­pass­ing jumped a whop­ping 73.1 per­cent from 2015 to 2016. Tres­passers are by def­i­ni­tion il­le­gally on pri­vate rail­road prop­erty with­out per­mis­sion. They are most of­ten pedes­tri­ans who walk across or along rail­road tracks or tres­tles as a short­cut to an­other des­ti­na­tion. Some may be loi­ter­ing, while oth­ers are en­gaged in recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties such as jog­ging, hunt­ing, or tak­ing pho­to­graphs.

Re­mem­ber th­ese safety tips:

Trains can’t swerve nor can they stop quickly. A typ­i­cal freight train can take more than a mile to stop, even when emer­gency brakes are ap­plied – the dis­tance of 18 foot­ball fields.

The train you see is closer and faster-mov­ing than you think. If you see a train ap­proach­ing, wait for it to go by be­fore you pro­ceed across the tracks.

Stay alert. Trains can come from ei­ther di­rec­tion at any time and can be very quiet. Around train tracks or in sta­tions, obey all warn­ing signs and sig­nals and use caution when us­ing head­sets or cell phones.

Cross the tracks only at ap­proved cross­ings. It is il­le­gal to cross rail­road tracks at any other lo­ca­tion. Do not try to beat a train at a cross­ing. It is al­most im­pos­si­ble to ac­cu­rately judge the dis­tance and speed of an on­com­ing train.

Do not stand close to the tracks. A train is at least three feet wider than the tracks on each side. Ad­di­tion­ally, a fast mov­ing train may kick up or drop de­bris.

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