Rail Safety Week

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COLUMBIA - Monday begins Rail Crossing Safety Week in Missouri, with the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Operation Lifesaver co-sponsoring the week.

Nearly every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the U.S. In Missouri alone, nine pedestrians died while walking on railroad property or tracks in 2010. Twelve died in 2009.

There was an increase in Missouri last year in highway rail crossing collisions, from 32 in 2009 to 41 in 2010.

Here are some tips MO-DOT suggests to stay safe at railroad crossings:

- Don't walk on or over railroad property--this could also land you in jail because it's considered tresspassing.

-Only use designated public crossing areas while crossing the tracks.

-When a train is crossing, keep 15 feet away from a railroad crossing when stopped in your vehicle. A train is three-feet wider than the tracks so make sure you leave plenty of room when stopping near tracks. 

There will be public rail saftey presentations across the state this week, including in Jefferson City Tuesday morning at Highway 179 crossing, and in Mexico Friday morning.  There is also a quiz on MO-DOT's website called "Train Your Brain" where you can win prizes.