State Agencies Join to Promote Railroad Crossing Safety

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri State Highway Patrol officers and other volunteers handed out railroad crossing safety materials Thursday in Audrain, Boone, Cole and Moniteau counties.

The group, which supports the train safety initiative "Operation Lifesaver," handed out safety brochures and key chains of railroad crossing sign at certain railroad crossings in Jefferson City.

"When someone is involved in a car-train collision, he is 20 times more likely to be killed or injured than in a normal vehicle collision. And railroad crossing crashes happen somewhere every three hours in the United States. They are frequent," said Rick  Mooney, executive director of Operation Lifesaver.

The program is a public information effort that targets the 11 counties in Missouri where 60 percent of the crashes and fatalities occur. The program members are giving safety presentations in all counties and handing out safety brochures in 35 counties. 

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, the total number of accidents between trains and cars at crossings in Missouri was 47 in 2011.

Lieutenant John Hotz from Missouri State Highway Patrol says, "People just get accustomed to cross the tracks 100 times a day. Unfortunately, the time they don't look is the time the train is coming. Sometimes, people just try to beat the train. Because the train is so big, a lot of times it looks like so slow, where in reality they are maybe going 40, 50 or 60 miles per hour."

The team members consist of three troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, three staff from Missouri Department of Transportation, one staff from Federal Railroad Administration and two members of the Operation Lifesaver.