DOTD launches railroad safety campaign for January
BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is launching a railroad safety campaign this month to focus on the message of "Do Not Stop on the Tracks."
The campaign will run from Jan. 2 to the 21st and will aim to educate drivers and pedestrians on what to do when a train is approaching and how to safely cross a railroad track.
Public service announcements will run on television and radio stations across the state and DOTD, along with its partners, will post safety material on social media using #RRSafetyLA. Additionally, law enforcement officers will monitor railroad intersections to ensure drivers are crossing them safely.
DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said that many people are injured every year on railroad tracks and advises drivers to be careful near them.
"We'd like to remind motorists to always yield when approaching a railroad crossing and never try to beat an oncoming train. Never stop on the tracks at a red light. Always stop either behind the white line or at least 15 feet from the tracks," Wilson said.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Louisiana is fourth in the nation for the number of highway railroad crossing deaths.
Nationally, according to DOTD, a person is struck by a train every three hours. Drivers are encouraged to keep the following statistics in mind:
- A moving train can take more than a mile to stop, even when brakes are applied.
- It's never safe to stop closer than 15 feet from rails. A train is at least three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
- Approximately 95 percent of all rail-related deaths involve drivers trying to beat a train or people trespassing on railroad tracks.
- More than 50 percent of people injured or killed while trespassing on railroad tracks have drugs or alcohol in their system.
- Railroad tracks are private property, and walking on them is trespassing. It's illegal and dangerous, and those who trespass could be ticketed and fined, seriously injured or killed.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, the Louisiana Center for Transportation Safety at LSU, Louisiana State Police, the Strategic Highway Safety Plan Communications Coordinating Council, along with DOTD, are supporting the campaign effort.
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