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Missouri Department of Transportation

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MoDOT News Release 

For more information, contact Kristi Jamison, (573) 526-2482

April 17, 2007 12:00 AM
Agencies Join Forces to Promote Rail Safety

JEFFERSON CITY - Motorists may find themselves stopped at highway-rail crossings throughout the spring, summer and fall, but not necessarily because of a passing train.  Instead, personnel from the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Operation Lifesaver, local law enforcement agencies, and railroads will be there to educate the public about rail safety.

Staff from those entities will be at various crossings passing out safety tips to help motorists make safe decisions at railroad crossings and around railroad tracks and properties.  The safety events will kick off the week of April 22, in conjunction with Rail Safety Week in Missouri (April 22-28), and will continue throughout the year.

"With more than 4,000 miles of railroad track, 3,800 public crossings and 3,000 private crossings, rail safety is an important issue in Missouri," said Rod Massman, MoDOT's administrator of railroads.  "We are stepping up our efforts to educate motorists about rail safety to reduce injuries and save lives."

Between 2005 and 2006, the number of rail-highway public crossing collisions decreased from 62 to 58 and fatalities fell from 17 to six in Missouri.  To date, there have been 11 collisions and four fatalities in 2007.  However, the number of people injured or killed while walking on railroad tracks or other unauthorized areas of railroad property rose.  There were 11 fatal trespassing injuries in 2006, compared to seven in 2005. 

More than half of the highway-public rail collisions were at crossings with at least some combination of active warning devices.  Fifty percent of the fatalities resulted from driving around gates at active warning devices.

 "If you think you can beat a train, think again," said Rick Mooney, executive director of Missouri Operation Lifesaver.  "When you approach a railroad crossing, slow down, be prepared to stop and remember to Look, Listen and Live."

While passing out safety tips, staff will also reward drivers who are buckled up in their safety belts with a coupon for a free Cherry Limeade from Sonic Drive-Ins.

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  Editor's note:  Safety tips, incident charts and audio PSAs on this topic are available online at www.modot.gov/newsroom

 

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