With the arrival of spring, there's typically an uptick in accidents near railroad tracks.
This afternoon law enforcement teamed up with the rail industry in an effort to raise awareness of the issue.
Police focused on monitoring traffic at two crossings in the metro east, stopping drivers who neglected to yield when a train was approaching.
Lindell Barton is Chief of the Alton Southern Railroad Police, and said even though railroad accidents involving motorists have declined across the country, it remains a serious problem.
“Day after day we get reports about risky driving behavior, whether it’s at these two crossings or any of the other crossings across our system,” Barton said.
Last year in Missouri and Illinois there were 149 collisions involving trains and cars.
A similar awareness event will be held in Pacific, Mo. next week.
Increase In Trespassing Fatalities
Illinois ranked third in the nation last year in deaths from railway accidents, with 19 of the 26 fatalities in the state due to trespassing, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Nationally trespassing deaths jumped by more than 10 percent between 2011 and 2012.
“Every now and again someone will take a chance to try and tag a rail car, and that train could move at any time,” said Union Pacific Spokesman Mark Davis. “It’s extremely dangerous to be on railroad properties.”
Davis said the industry is responding by stepping up its efforts to educate the public about the dangers of walking near tracks.
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