Cracking down on train track traffic violators

APD helping prevent train accidents

It was just over a month ago when a train smashed into a bus carrying dozens of Texans in Mississippi, killing four and injuring 35 others.

It happens more than you may realize.

In March, a Crockett High School student was hit by a train.

In fact, a train hits a person or vehicle every three hours in the U.S., according to Union Pacific.

55 miles an hour may not seem fast to most of us, but a freight train forced to stop at that speed needs more than a mile of track to do so.

"They think they can get out of the moving train in time before they get hit," said Special Agent Alfredo Rodriguez. He participates in Union Pacific's Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety or UP CARES program.

It didn't take long before he spotted someone trespassing near the tracks during our recent Wednesday afternoon.

The person was cited for trespassing a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $100.

While pedestrians pose part of the problem drivers often ignore obvious warnings, and that could be deadly.
UP CARES involves collaboration with other agencies, and this time around the Austin Police Department was on board, with a birds-eye view to spot misbehaving motorists.

"They try to floor it and beat the train," Senior Police Officer Jeff Vance said. "That's why they make it a violation. When the lights are on and flashing you still have to stop even though the arms aren't down."

Vance radioed to fellow Highway Patrol Officers on the ground.

The team gave out nearly a dozen warnings and citations to drivers for everything from talking on their cell phones, to failing to stop once they saw the flashing lights.

Rodriguez hopes campaigns like this will remind people that an impending 12 million pound freight train shouldn't be taken lightly.

"A lot of times they are rushed and that's why they take chances. But if they give themselves plenty of time to get to their destination they wouldn't put themselves in danger."

UP CARES began back in 1972. Union Pacific plans to team up with several other agencies to continue their efforts on Thursday.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
TRENDING VIDEOS