A recent news story offered a history of recent incidents of rail crashes resulting in death, citing 29 deaths in Colorado in the last 5 years, including both heavy rail and light rail incidents. Last week the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued a press release to bring awareness to this issue and provide safety advice for railroad crossings. The PUC offered the following tips:
Safety Tips for everyone:
· Always expect a train
at a railroad crossing at any time, on any track, from any direction;
· Always look both
directions for a train at any railroad crossing.
Safety Tips for drivers:
· Don’t drive around
crossing gates – it is both unsafe and illegal to do so in Colorado;
· It is both unsafe and
illegal in Colorado to stop or allow yourself to become trapped on tracks.
Proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can
completely clear the crossing without stopping;
· Always obey warning
signs at a railroad crossing whether they are passive (signs) or active
(flashing lights, gates, bells).
Safety Tips for pedestrians and bicyclists:
· Be alert and aware when
you are around railroad tracks and at light rail and commuter rail train
· Don’t wear headphones
or stare at your phone when you are around railroad crossings;
· Always obey safety
warnings whether they are passive (signs) or active (flashing lights, gates,
bells, pedestrian swing gates);
· Don’t trespass on
railroad or light rail tracks.
For more in-depth information see the PUC's Three
Year Safety and Security Audit Summary of the Metro Denver Area
Regional Transportation District (RTD) Light Rail Operation 2008 through
2010, available online from our library. See also the Colorado Department of Transportation's State Freight and Passenger Rail Plan, also available online from our library, which addresses some safety issues.
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