Monday, February 28, 2011
Traffic Safety Unit Steps Up Enforcement at Railroad Crossings
Tomorrow March 1, 2011, the Bryan Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit (TSU) will be partnering with the Union Pacific Railroad Police for “Operation Railroad.” Officers will be monitoring the railroad tracks that pass through the City of Bryan looking for traffic violations. The last “Operation Railroad” was conducted in September of 2010 and resulted in 34 railroad related citations.
The Bryan Police Department would like to remind the citizens of Bryan that trains can be deadly. Back on January 24, 2011 a citizen was hit by a passing train that cost him his life. Please use caution and obey all warning signs. Here are many simple and life-saving practices to help you avoid a confrontation with a train at a railroad crossing:
• Never drive around lowered gates. Driving around lowered gates is illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the toll free number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
• Never stop on the railroad tracks. Stopping on the tracks is illegal. If traffic is backed up and crosses a RXR intersection, prepare to stop early before the RXR tracks. Treat the railroad tracks like a traffic intersection. You don’t want to be caught stopped in the intersection whether a train is coming or not.
•Slow down when approaching a railroad crossing and look both ways—TWICE!
• Never race a train to cross the tracks; even if you tie, you lose.
• Watch out for a second train.
• Never pass another vehicle within 100 feet of a railroad crossing.
• Watch out for vehicles that MUST stop at railroad crossings, like school buses, city buses, or trucks carrying hazardous materials.
• When approaching a crossing, roll down your windows, turn off the radio or air conditioner, and listen for whistles or bells.
• Always yield to flashing lights, whistles, closing gates, or stop signs.
• Never shift gears on the railroad crossing, downshift before you reach it.
• If you must stop, keep a distance of 15 to 50 feet from the tracks. Since the tracks are four feet eight and a half inches wide, and the train hangs three feet past the rails on each side, be sure to leave enough space between your vehicle and the tracks.
• Teach children that the railroad is never a place to play, walk, run, bike ride, or use as a short cut. Don’t fish from railroad bridges either. Railroad tracks are considered private property and you can be charged with criminal trespass for walking on the tracks.
• Always cross the tracks at the designated railroad crossing or pedestrian crossing.
• Only use the crossing if you can be sure your vehicle is high enough to completely clear the railroad crossing without stopping.
• Don’t be fooled by the optical illusion presented by the train. It is always moving faster and is much closer than you think. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That's 18 football fields!
Officer Jon Agnew
Public Information Officer
Bryan Police Department
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