Branson Mo. Police Department promotes safety around railroad crossings during National Rail Safety Week
BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) -The Branson Police Department is spreading the message of safety around railroad crossings as part of national rail safety week.
According to Operation Lifesaver, every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train.
One Branson visitor stresses the importance of being safe near the tracks. Visitor Diane Bucholz says her friend’s family once lived near a railroad. One day her friend’s ten-year-old son decided to play on the tracks.
”He was playing with his dirt bike,” said Bucholz. “He and his brother, they were on the trestle when the train came. He did not want to leave his dirt bike behind, and he ultimately lost his life.”
Bucholz says this was a tragic experience no family should have to face. She encourages parents to teach their children more about railroad safety.
”A train could take as much as one mile to be able to stop, and then if a child is on the tracks, that is, of course, too late.”
Branson Assistant Police Chief Eric Schmitt says you should always expect a train because trains do not run on regular schedules. You should also never pass flashing lights or go around lowered gates. One of the biggest mistakes he sees drivers make is not paying attention to the signage the railways and street crews have put up to protect them.
”For instance, we’re at an intersection here where it clearly tells people to stop behind a line,” said Asst. Chief Schmitt. “You can see right now there’s a car parked right on the tracks. If a train came through, it would be struck. It would be trapped in there.”
Asst. Chief Schmitt says every railroad crossing is marked with a small blue sign with a unique identifier and a phone number straight to railroad dispatch. This can be useful in emergencies like cars stalling out on the tracks leading to drivers panicking.
”Get everybody out of the car,” Asst. Chief Schmitt said. “If you can’t move it, get off the train tracks. Get to that sign, call that number, and tell them you’re broken down. Then call 911 to get them coming so we can hopefully help clear the way as well.”
He also wants to remind the community that walking on or beside tracks is illegal and can have deadly consequences.
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