The State of Illinois has declared Sept. 14, as Illinois Rail Safety Week in order to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains.
In Illinois during 2013, there were 126 crossing collisions involving motor vehicles, which resulted in 40 injuries and 21 fatalities. There also were 52 trespasser incidents that resulted in 27 injuries and 25 fatalities when people trespassed on to railroad property. During 2013, Illinois ranked third in both vehicle collision fatalities and trespasser fatalities.
The Illinois State Police District 16 are urging the public to consider the following points
when driving or walking near a railway:
• Remember to look both ways when approaching railway tracks as trains can run on any track, in any direction, at any time;
• Trains cannot swerve; they must follow tracks;
• Trains cannot immediately stop. For example, a car traveling 55 mph can stop in about 200 feet. A train may need between 600 feet and a mile to stop, depending
on the type of train;
• Trains are wider than the tracks by at least three feet on each side so watch pavement markings when parking your car along train tracks that share street;
• If you see a train coming, wait. Do not try to beat a train. The size and angle of a train can create an optical illusion. Approaching trains are closer and traveling
faster than they appear; and
• If your vehicle stalls on the tracks get everyone out and off the tracks immediately. If a train is coming stay clear of the tracks. If no train is in sight,
post lookouts and try to start the vehicle or push it off the tracks.
Police are reminding motorists that it is against the law to stop vehicles anywhere within highway-rail grade crossing. Highway-rail grade crossings are typically marked by
white stop lines located on the pavement in advance of the crossing, and if not marked by white stop lines, the highway-rail grade crossing extends from protective gate arms to protective gate arms.
According to Illinois Operation Lifesaver, more than 50 percent of all collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (flashing lights, gates, and ringing bells). When crossing railroad tracks, you must always obey the law and be aware of your surroundings.