COLLINSVILLE — Illinois State Police District 11 is partnering with local, state and federal agencies to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains during Illinois Rail Safety Week, September 11 – 17.
During 2015, there were 140 railroad grade crossing collisions involving motor vehicles, which resulted in 80 injuries and 31 fatalities. In addition, there were 41 trespassing incidents railroad property, which resulted in 18 injuries and 23 fatalities. Illinois is ranked second in the nation in grade crossing fatalities and fifth in railroad trespassing fatalities.
To promote safety awareness and education, Illinois State Police District 11 has planned enforcement details throughout the week at railroad grade crossings. Drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings and railroad property will be cited. In addition, police officers will distribute literature to the public that contains information on how to be safe around trains and train tracks.
When crossing railroad tracks, motorists must always obey the law and be aware of their surroundings. Not only is it against the law to stop a vehicle on railroad tracks, it is against the law to stop a vehicle anywhere within the highway-rail grade crossing. Highway-rail grade crossings are typically marked by white stop lines on the pavement in advance of the crossing, and if not marked by white stop lines, the crossing extends from protective gate arm to protective gate arm.
According to Illinois Operation Lifesaver, more than 67 percent of rail-related collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (flashing lights, gates and ringing bells).
Illinois Rail Safety Week is supported by the Illinois State Police, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Operation Lifesaver, Illinois Sheriff’s Association and the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association.
For information, visit illinoisrailsafetyweek.org.