Safety at or Near Railroad Tracks is Our Number One Priority
Between 2004 and 2007, there were 235 crashes at public highway-rail crossings in Minnesota, ranking the state 18th in the nation for the highest number of crashes and 14th for fatalities and injuries resulting from these crashes (Source: Federal Railroad Administration).
Rail Safety Solicitation Material (PDF 48 KB)
Rail-crossing fatalities could be prevented if people were more aware around rail crossings and understood the dangers of trains:
- Because of their size, approaching trains appear to be traveling at a slower speed.
- It takes a fully loaded freight train traveling at 50 miles an hour 1.5 miles to come to a full stop.
- By the time the train engineer sees a vehicle or pedestrian on the tracks, it is often too late to stop.
Safe driving, biking and walking behavior can and does save lives. Here are some safety tips:
- Yield the right-of-way to trains at highway-rail crossings-it's the law.
- Never drive around lowering gates-it's illegal and deadly.
- Only cross tracks where they are marked with pedestrian crossing markings.
- Never race a train to the crossing-even if it is a tie, you lose.
- Expect a train on the track at any time-trains do not follow set schedules.
- Look out for the second train when crossing multiple tracks.
- Immediately get out of your vehicle if it stalls on the crossing, get clear of the tracks and call 911.
The chance of death or serious injury from a motor vehicle/train crash is 11 times greater than for other highway collisions. Many of these crashes could be avoided if people used common sense safety measures at highway-rail crossings.
Many motorists are not familiar with the warning devices designed for their safety. Often they are unaware that trains cannot stop as quickly as motor vehicles to avoid a collision. Others simply ignore all warning signs because they are in a hurry. Driver ignorance and impatience are the most common factors contributing to motor vehicle, train crashes.
To help us get our safety message across, the Freight, Railroads and Waterways Section and other safety partners have launched an aggressive campaign to reduce the number of collisions throughout the state.
For more information or free railroad safety presentations, contact Minnesota Operation Lifesaver, Inc. at 651-328-3259. Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Operation Lifesaver, Inc.