For more information, contact Operation Life Saver State Coordinator Tim Hull, 573-694-6412, MSHP Captain John Hotz, 573-526-6115, or MoDOT Communications, 573 751-2840
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Operation Lifesaver have declared Sept. 11-17, 2016, as Missouri Rail Safety Week. These three agencies along with local law enforcement and railroad companies are partnering together to raise public awareness about the dangers of disregarding railroad crossing laws and trespassing on railroad property.
"Collisions between vehicles or pedestrians and trains are preventable," said Missouri Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Tim Hull. "Missouri law enforcement agencies and railroad special agents will be out monitoring railroad crossings during Missouri Rail Safety Week. We are hoping to change the public's mindset regarding rail safety. Rail Safety Week is a great opportunity to get our message out there!"
Since July 4, Missouri Operation Lifesaver has aired radio messages across the state to stress the fact that it is "no contest" to try to beat a train or even to share a walkway with trains. These ads focus on the safety campaign theme of "See Tracks? Think Train!" Enforcement events are scheduled to deter violations of crossing safety laws and to curb trespassing on the railroad tracks.
"We are constantly striving to reduce crashes and eliminate deaths and injuries with both crossing collisions and trespasser incidents," said Missouri State Highway Patrol Public Information and Education Director Captain John Hotz. "We encourage everyone to take these warning devices seriously and pay attention at all railroad crossings. Also please remember railroad tracks are private property and trespassing is dangerous and illegal."
In 2015, there were 62 crossing crashes and trespass incidents resulting in 23 fatalities and 26 injuries in the state of Missouri.
"MoDOT works with the railroads to upgrade public crossings with lights and gates, LED lights and more reflective signing. With our limited funding, we do 25 to 30 signal upgrades per year," said Missouri Department of Transportation Railroad Administrator Eric Curtit. "MoDOT continues to work with local communities and railroads to reduce the number of railroad crossings to improve safety. A closed crossing is the safest crossing."
Missouri Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade intersections and on railroad rights of way through public education, engineering and enforcement. To learn more about Missouri Operation Lifesaver, please visit www.oli.org.