SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — Illinois State Police District 9 is partnering with local, state and Federal agencies to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains during Rail Safety Week, September 24 through September 30.

To promote rail safety awareness and education, Illinois State Police District 9 has planned enforcement details throughout the week at various railroad grade crossings.  Drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings and railroad property will be cited. In addition, police officers will be distributing literature to the public that contains information on how to be safe around trains and train tracks.

District 9 Commander Chris Owen stated “State Troopers will be present near crossing locations to ensure motorists are complying with existing safety laws.”

When crossing railroad tracks, motorists must always obey the law and be aware of your surroundings.  Please remember, it against the law to stop your vehicle on the railroad tracks and anywhere within the highway-rail grade crossing.  Highway-rail grade crossings are typically marked by white stop lines located on the pavement in advance of the crossing, and if not marked by white stop lines, the highway-rail grade crossing extends from protective gate arm to protective gate arm.

According to Operation Lifesaver, more than 67% of all rail-related collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (flashing lights, gates, and ringing bells).

During 2016, there were 120 railroad crossing collisions in Illinois involving motor vehicles.  These collisions resulted in 43 injuries and 22 fatalities.  In addition, there were 39 trespassing incidents on railroad property which resulted in 17 injuries and 22 fatalities.  Illinois is ranked second in the nation in grade crossing fatalities and 7th in the nation in railroad trespassing fatalities.

For more information on Rail Safety Week, please visit their website.

Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. He is general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group. He also serves as chairman of Tri-Counties Libertarian Party and Capital Area Libertarian Party, deputy candidate recruitment director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and as chairman/co-founder of the Libertarian Party Millennial Caucus.

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