Operation Livesaver Aims to Decrease Alabama Train Accidents
A train collides with a car almost every 90 minutes and thousands of people are injured or killed in train wrecks every year, according to the RailRoad Safety Committee. Because of those statistics, the Alabama Department of Transportation is teaming up with Operation Livesaver to help keep Alabamians safe at railroad crossings.
Alabama comes in at number six in the nation for the number of collisions between vehicles and trains. Montgomery was a stop on Operation Livesaver‘s 40 City Tour, as a part of their efforts to spread the dangers of the tracks to decrease those numbers.
Executive Director of Operation Livesaver, Nancy Hudson, attributes most of Alabama’s accidents to drivers rushing around on the roads.
“It’s a very mobile state,” Hudson says. “We don’t have mass public transportation. So if you want to go somewhere, you’ve got a drive. Everybody is so busy, that we’re just not thinking about a train. And when you see that gate go down, you’re rushing to meet someone or pick the kids up from school, or get to a baseball game, you don’t want to wait.”
Alabama has more then 3,500 miles of railroad tracks with nearly 6,000 public and private crossing areas. Driving over those crossing areas is where most get into trouble.
“When the crossing gate comes down, technically, the road is closed,” Hudson adds. “And to drive around the gate is not only illegal, but it’s deadly. You’re taking such a huge chance because the train is actually a little closer to you than you think. And it’s probably moving faster than you think just because of how big it is.”
She hopes that with ALDOT’s help, she can educate all of Alabama on train safety. She is sharing tips that State Trooper Steve Jarrett uses daily. He believes the attention train safety is getting is crucial to educating the public.
“As a trooper, it’s rare that we see a traffic fatality at a railroad crossing,” Jarrett says. “And I’d like to thank that that’s partly due by the efforts of Operation Livesaver.”
Operation Livesaver‘s motto is “See Track? Think Train!”
“We have to remind people to never let your guard down,” Hudson says. “The tracks are active. Every time you see tracks, think that there could be a train.”