Railroad crossing collisions up about 10 percent

Posted at 1:56 PM, Apr 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 14:59:00-04

"When you see tracks, think train!" - that has been Wisconsin Operation Lifesaver's motto for years, and it's a reminder to drivers to use extra caution around railroad tracks.

However, over the past year, crash statistics involving trains have increased nearly 10%.

Barry Bloodworth, visiting from Texas, stands on the platform waiting for his next Amtrak ride. Barry says the huge gust of wind, combined with the booming noise and the sheer size of the train, even from safely behind the line, makes it all very up-close and personal. 

Wisconsin Operation Lifesaver found that collisions at railroad crossings rose nearly 10% last year, despite national statistics decreasing by more than 2%. Additionally, in 2016, Wisconsin collisions resulting in death or injury increased close to 10%; but that's still lower than the national average of more than 13%.

Listening to these facts, Barry is not surprised.

"I can understand why that would be a problem. We have the same problem in Texas, people for some reason just don't know how to play by the rules...They want to go around, they'll go around," Barry explains.

Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator, Susie Klinger, says many of these crashes are caused by distracted drivers.

Susie elaborates, "65% of those crashes happen where there were lights and gates and stop signs...That's not acceptable."

Later this year, September 24th through 30th, Operation Lifesaver will be traveling around the state to raise awareness about rail safety and attention.