SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – According to Operation Lifesaver, a fatal train-vehicle collision occurs every three hours in the United States. The most common causes of these accidents are cited as negligence and recklessness on the part of drivers and pedestrians. Last year there were 8,558 train and vehicle / pedestrian incidents in the country with 5,402 injuries and 783 deaths.
Each September, Operation Lifesaver works with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), the Utah State Office of Education, the Utah Trucking Association, and the Utah Highway Patrol Partner for National Rail Safety Month. The aim is to educate motorists, pedestrians and cyclists about the lifesaving importance of level crossing safety.
Traffic officials recommend following seven simple rules:
- Stop for flashing red lights
- Don’t run to beat the train
- Don’t turn left without looking for trains
- Do not stop on train tracks
- Do not drive around gates
- Don’t drive distracted
- Do not cut before trains
Sheldon Shaw, Director of Security and Security for the Utah Transit Authority, participated in an IN FOCUS discussion with Nick McGurk of ABC4. He discussed data and statistics, trends when comparing the numbers with previous years, the causes of these accidents, how positive train control systems make trains safer, training courses that their operators go through, and how they want to integrate collision safety when expanding the rail service.
Vern Keeslar, executive director of Utah Operation Lifesaver, shared what this is about, why he cares about data and statistics, the decline in cases over the past few decades, the differentiation into categories of incidents, the financial implications of these Collisions, and his message to drivers that they take rail safety seriously.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Shaw and Keeslar, click the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with Rosie Nguyen of ABC4 on weekdays on the 7pm CW30 news.