September 22, 2019 - TRA Newswire -

Every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States. With the most rail mileage of any state, railroads in Texas have a special reason to spread the word about rail safety.

Rail Safety Week, Sept. 22-28, seeks to end these preventable tragedies. The goal of the week, led by Operation Lifesaver, is to raise awareness and educate the public about making smart decisions near the tracks.

This week Union Pacific Railroad is sharing life-saving messages reminding drivers and pedestrians to use caution every time they cross the tracks. UP has scheduled Rail Safety Week events across their 23-state system.

"Railroad crossing incidents involving drivers and pedestrians are preventable if people remain vigilant near the tracks and avoid risky behavior,” said Erin Batt, Union Pacific's chief safety officer. "Rail Safety Week is a great opportunity for communities to raise awareness about how people can keep themselves and their families safe near rail lines.” Union Pacific hopes to reverse the trend by discouraging unsafe behavior such as ignoring railroad warnings and walking on tracks in areas that are not designated crossings. Designated crossings can be marked with x-shaped railroad signage or equipped with red flashing lights, bells and gates.

Operation Lifesaver's rail safety education campaign is using social media and traditional means to reach the public with their message.

It's important to remember trains do not operate on set schedules and to expect a train at all times. Union Pacific Railroad urges motorists and pedestrians that by practicing the following rail safety tips throughout the year it will help the public stay safe near railroad tracks:

Only cross the tracks at designated railroad crossings, located where the street intersects with the tracks.
Never walk between the rails or in areas that are not designated crossings.
Avoid distractions including loud music, texting or talking on cell phones when crossing the railroad tracks.
Stay away from trains and other railroad property including bridges, yards and other equipment.
Call the phone number posted at the crossing or 911 to report unsafe behavior on or around the tracks.