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Letter: Raising awareness about Rail Safety Week

In the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours. Yes, you read that right, every three hours. Preventing these tragedies is at the heart of Rail Safety Week, Sept.19-25, 2022.

Letter to the editor FSA
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In the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours. Yes, you read that right, every three hours. Preventing these tragedies is at the heart of Rail Safety Week, Sept.19-25, 2022. The North Dakota Safety Council is proud to be the lead agency for Operation Lifesaver of the Dakotas – a non-profit established to end collisions, injuries and deaths at rail crossings, and one of several agencies partnering in this work.

Driving and walking around railroad gates is all too common in North Dakota. You see it frequently in college towns where young people are moving from venue to venue, crossing the tracks as trains bear down, horns blaring. In rural areas, you see it when vehicles try to beat the crossing gates hoping to save themselves just a few minutes in their day. No matter how harmless they seem, these acts can lead to catastrophic incidents. Death or injury for the person taking the risk, terrifying scenarios for engineers, and devastating aftermath for families and friends.

When you see railroad tracks, always expect a train. Freight and passenger trains do not travel on a predictable schedule.Trains always have the right of way over pedestrians and cars, and even over ambulances, fire engines, and law enforcement. Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings and obey all warning signals. Trains can’t stop quickly. It takes a 100-car freight train more than one mile to stop.

By raising awareness and working together, we can end injuries and deaths around trains.

Clairmont is executive director of the North Dakota Safety Council.

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