Police And Railroad Agents Team Up To Stop Crossing Accidents
(Memphis) If you’re like most drivers in Memphis, the last thing you want is to get stuck at a railroad crossing by a passing train.
The desire to “beat the train” causes drivers to race unsafely through flashing red lights and lowered crossing gates.
It’s impulsive thinking that could lead to a bad outcome.
A blaring train horn could be the last sound you ever hear if you don’t pay attention at railroad crossings in Memphis and Shelby county.
Officials with BNSF Railroad say their engineers are seeing more drivers and pedestrians ignoring lights and gates at crossings.
Mike Flynn is a Special Agent with BNSF, “The main message we want to get out there to the public is; these trains are big, they’re heavy. The warning systems are there for a reason.”
Wednesday morning railroad agents and Memphis Police “hit the rails and streets” to stake out crossings where violations are common.
Joe Faust, Public Affairs Director with BNSF, says motorists and pedestrians should always give trains the right-of-way, “Unlike an automobile vehicle our trains don’t have anywhere to swerve. It must keep straight. and it takes a mile to stop.”
News Channel Three hopped aboard engine 7893 for a “birds eye” view from the engineers cab.
The noticeable police presence at the Person/Castalia crossing did cause motorists to slow down, stop and be a little more cautious than usual.
But at the Pendleton Street crossing a City of Memphis “street sweeper” got too close for comfort and snagged the lighted warning gate.
That’s not the only alarming thing we saw…
A pedestrian walked dangerously close to the tracks before finally looking over his shoulder and moving to safety.
It is these potentially fatal situations that keep engineer Eddie Anthony on guard, “You’re kinda scared that you may hit somebody. That’s the last thing you want to do.”
Officers issued seven citations and one warning during Wednesday’s enforcement sweep.
They say some of the other problem train crossings are on South Parkway and Willette and on Democrat near Lamar.