‘Be safe!’

CSX, law enforcement promote railroad safety

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery

EAST ROCKINGHAM — One blue Hyundai sedan pulled over to switch drivers.

A beige, older Honda Civic executed a u-turn rather than pass through what appeared to be a checkpoint Wednesday morning on Long Drive near Mill Road in East Rockingham. But authorities weren’t manning a DUI checkpoint or checking for driver’s licenses. Instead, the officers were promoting railroad and motorist safety as part of International Grade Crossing Awareness Day.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The North Carolina Highway Patrol was part of a multi-agency effort to promote railroad safety on Wednesday in East Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The North Carolina Highway Patrol was part of a multi-agency effort to promote railroad safety on Wednesday in East Rockingham.

All they were doing was distributing a single-page, double-sided flier that reminded motorists how to be safe when approaching railroad trails.

“Trains can’t stop quickly … you can,” exclaimed the flier’s headline.

The multi-agency effort included representatives from CSX, CSX Police, Hamlet Police Department, Rockingham Police Department, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol. For about an hour, personnel manned two checkpoints, passing out fliers in East Rockingham on Biltmore Drive and Long Drive.

CSX maintains nearly 1,700 public and private grade railroad crossings across North Carolina and operates major rail yards in Hamlet and Rocky Mount.

There have been eight fatalities among 208 incidents between 2001 and 2014 recorded on railroad tracks within Richmond County, according to Federal Railroad Administration data.

* Dec. 27, 2014. Shortly after midnight, a 35-year-old trespasser was struck by a freight train while walking on the railroad tracks.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com CSX personnel, assisted by state and local law enforcement, were deployed to railroad crossings on Biltmore Drive and Long Drive to distribute railroad safety tips.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
CSX personnel, assisted by state and local law enforcement, were deployed to railroad crossings on Biltmore Drive and Long Drive to distribute railroad safety tips.

* At about 3 a.m. on Nov. 14, 2006, a 39-year-old person declared a trespasser was struck and killed by a freight train.

* At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 11, 2001, a 22-year-old man was killed when struck by a freight train. According to available FRA data, the victim “turned hi back to the train and would not get out of the way. The trespasser was struck and was fatally injured.”

In January 2015, a man was found dead along the railroad tracks in Richmond County. That death is not included in the data.

Kristin Seay, a CSX spokesperson based in Jacksonville, Fla., said “accidents between trains and pedestrians or vehicles are all too common.  About every three hours somewhere in the U.S., a person or a vehicle is struck by a train.”

Seay said CSX urges the public to use extreme caution around railroad tracks for their personal safety and to remember:

  • Trains are moving much faster and are closer than they may appear – never try to beat a train at a crossing.
  • Trains cannot stop quickly – an average freight train takes more than a mile to come to a stop.
  • Freight trains do not run on a set schedule – always expect a train when you see railroad tracks.
  • Never walk along the railroad tracks – trains can overhang the tracks by 2-3 feet on either side

For more information, statistics and safety tips, please visit www.oli.org.

 

Filed in: Business, Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety, Rockingham

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