Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Hal Taylor shared a startling statistic about the roadways we drive every day.
“Unfortunately, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours in the United States,” Taylor said. “Many of the first responders across our state have responded to these tragic incidents and fully understand the lasting impact these events have on a family as well as the community.
“We encourage everyone to join our Agency in this national initiative and practice railroad safety not only during Rail Safety Week 2023, but every day of the year.”
ALEA is responsible for the safety and enforcement of Alabama roadways, but all drivers bear the ultimate responsibility.
Each year, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) joins fellow law enforcement agencies and first responders across the nation and in Canada to participate in the annual “Operation Clear Track,” the single largest rail safety law enforcement initiative in North America.
Operation Clear Track is underway across the state as well as the nation!
— Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (@ALEAprotects) September 19, 2023
Today, ALEA Troopers will be stationed at railroad crossings and other locations across the state to distribute educational materials to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to reinforce the importance of crossing and trespass laws.
Rail Safety Week runs through Sunday.
Included in this year’s campaign is a virtual “Train to Drive” video that allows users to make real-time safety decisions and put their knowledge to the test.
“The virtual driver training program is a great online tool provided by Operation Lifesaver that gives everyone a chance to get in the drivers seat and make real-time decisions, while also safely displaying the devastating consequences of the wrong decision,”
Whether you’re a veteran, inexperienced driver, or make your living behind the wheel of a bus or a commercial vehicle, staying safe around railway tracks is all about knowing the rules.
Quick Safety Tips for Drivers
- Wait, Look Both Ways – Trains may be closer and traveling faster than they appear. They also can run on any track, in any direction at any time. Always look and listen for trains before proceeding through a crossing.
- Cross Legally and Safely – The only safe and legal place for anyone to cross railroad tracks is at a designated crossing.
- Don’t Get Caught in the Middle – Make sure you or your vehicle are not stopped in the middle of a grade crossing, waiting for traffic to move. Leave your vehicle if it stalls or gets stuck on the tracks and immediately call the railway or 911 to stop rail traffic.
- You vs. Train – This is not a race! Never attempt to outrun or beat a train. Trains always have the right of way.
- Stay Alert – Be aware of other road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles that may be required to stop at rail crossings. Avoid distractions and always stay alert while behind the wheel.
Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270