Jefferson City Police pulled about ten motorists over during a railroad crossing enforcement operation Friday, at a busy crossing just west of the Missouri Capitol.
The operation’s aim was to raise awareness of rail crossings.
A Missourinet reporter who rode with the Union Pacific crew on Friday observed a few drivers on cell phones, pulling in front of the train. Those motorists were pulled over. The intersection is between the Statehouse and the Kirkpatrick Building.
An organization that promotes rail safety education says the number of people killed in Missouri at railroad crossings has dropped from a year ago. Missouri Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Tim Hull observed Friday’s enforcement operation.
“That’s what we’re out here trying to do is make sure everybody knows that anytime is train time,” Hull says. “Always expect a train, anytime. It could be there.”
Hull, a former Missouri State Highway Patrol captain, credits enforcement operations like the one Friday with the steep decrease in fatalities at Missouri railroad crossings.
“Working those in conjunction with the enforcement operations like we saw today do the job of getting that information out there, making people aware of it,” says Hull.
Hull tells Missourinet that in 2018, there were nine fatalities and 22 injuries at Missouri railroad crossings, putting the state tenth in the nation in fatalities. He notes that so far in 2019, there has been one fatality and eight injuries at crossings.
Hull says a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take about a mile to stop, once the emergency brakes are applied. Operation Lifesaver says a person or vehicle is struck by a train about every three hours in the United States.
“It’s important to remember as you approach those railroad tracks to slow down, look, listen and live,” Hull says. “Because that’s the key to keep those incidents from happening.”
Operation Lifesaver also says there have been ten railroad trespassing incidents in Missouri in 2019, with six fatalities.
A similar operation was conducted a year ago in Jefferson City.
Union Pacific crews also say that people sometimes place shopping carts in the railroad tracks between Jefferson City and Kansas City, so the train can hit them.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with Missouri Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Tim Hull, which was recorded on September 27, 2019 in Jefferson City:
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The first motorist has just been pulled over by @JeffCityPolice. The driver just pulled in front of this 412,000 pound @UnionPacific locomotive. The driver is now being ticketed. @Missourinet pic.twitter.com/mVs2oQlZh4
— Brian Hauswirth (@Brianontheair) September 27, 2019