Impatience at rail crossings can be deadly - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Impatience at rail crossings can be deadly

(WMC-TV) - Operation lifesaver is a rail safety education organization with a public service announcement, which warns drivers that impatience at rail crossings can be deadly.

Wednesday, BNSF Railway and Memphis Police officers in conjunction with Operation Lifesaver conducted a training exercise on Mid-South train tracks.

"In today's environment, everybody is in a hurry", said BNSF Senior Patrolman Michael Flynn.  "They don't want to wait for a train and they're willing to take a risk."

Each year, avoidable accidents occur when unsafe drivers attempt to beat the trains by racing through flashing red lights and lowered gates.

"It's amazing, I see people go through these crossings with kids in their car and they don't think anything about it", explained Flynn.

A 15,000-ton train has the right of way at crossings.

Officers write citations but say it is not enough.

A new public service announcement warns drivers about train safety in 5 tips:

  • Always expect a train at any crossing.
  • Look and listen for a train as you approach every crossing.
  • Avoid distractions while driving or walking near tracks.
  • Don't get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a crossing ONLY if you are sure you can completely clear it without stopping.

Lastly, Operation Lifesaver warns that it takes a train a mile or more to stop.  That is 18 football fields.

Even if a locomotive engineer spots a driver ahead, he cannot stop or swerve to avoid a collision.

With four tracks, the intersection at Castalia and Person Ave is one of the most dangerous crossings in Memphis.

"We had a young lady that was killed there by a train", said Flynn "A week later, another lady was severely injured by a train going the opposite direction"

Look. Listen. Live. Railroad police say their ultimate mission is to save lives.

"We hope setting an example of a few will lead to saving the lives of many", said Joe Faust, BNSF Regional Director of Public Affairs.

Wednesday officers wrote seven citations, one warning, one trespass contact, and made two arrests .

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