WARSAW – The city of Warsaw supports National Rail Safety Week, Sept. 22-28.
The campaign encourages residents to reflect on their own habits and make changes to protect their lives and the safety of train crew members.
In the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours.
Over the last decade, approximately 20,000 Americans have been killed or seriously injured because they engaged in unsafe behavior at railroad crossings. Some were illegally walking, playing or taking photos on train tracks.
Ninety-five percent of all rail-related incidents in the U.S. involve vehicle-train collisions at railroad crossings or people on the tracks being struck by trains. These incidents are devastating to families, communities and train crew members.
Virtually all of them are preventable.
The heart of Warsaw is segmented by two railroad tracks. Trains and railroad tracks are a part of daily life for Warsaw residents. However, accidents and injuries are all too common. As a result, Warsaw reminds residents of five important rail safety tips:
- Look and listen for trains as you approach every railroad crossing, even those with inactivated crossing gates. Obey all signs, warning lights and gates.
- Trains are quieter and faster than you think. Never try to beat a train.
- Because of their size and weight, it can take a train a mile or more to stop. The impact of one train locomotive equals that of a passenger car driving over an empty soda can.
- Always expect a train on any track coming from any direction. Locomotives can push or pull a train. Avoid distractions when you approach a crossing. Never stop your car on a track, even momentarily, while waiting for a traffic signal to change. One never knows when the next train will arrive or if one will be able to move their vehicle in time.
- Finally, rail property is private property. Walking, or engaging in activities such as photography, on the tracks is illegal and dangerous.
Every railroad crossing has an Emergency Notification System blue sign that displays a phone number and crossing identification number. If there is a problem with the crossing, a safety concern, suspicious activity, track obstruction or a vehicle stuck on the track, calling that number will immediately connect to a railroad dispatcher. The dispatcher can pinpoint the location and contact a train engineer within five to ten seconds of receiving a call to stop the train.
If a vehicle becomes stuck with a train actively approaching, the driver should abandon the vehicle, run toward the train at a 45-degree angle and only call the emergency number if it is safe to do so.
A call to 911 will not help a train stop on time. In a railroad emergency, the first call should be to the railroad dispatcher using the Emergency Notification System.
The city of Warsaw urges residents to not put there lives on the line to get somewhere quicker. Always be aware of the railroad tracks and help ensure the safety of community members and railroad crews.