Police stress railroad safety following increase in deaths involving trains

Posted at 10:01 PM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 22:01:51-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- With a spike in train accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians, several police departments teamed up Tuesday to make sure people stay off the railroad tracks. 

Officers said many trains can weigh more than 10,000 tons, making it impossible for them to stop seconds before they notice a person or vehicle on the tracks. A train that size could take more than a mile to stop during an emergency.

"We had a pedestrian who was walking along the track, probably distracted with their earbuds and they were struck and they didn't survive their injuries,” said Gary Woodruff of the Lawrence Police Department. 

On Tuesday, officers handed out awareness cards on railroad safety instead of tickets to those found on the tracks.

“We're not necessarily giving citations today, we're not stopping traffic,” said Woodruff. “Just whenever we do encounter a pedestrian or perhaps a vehicle stopped at the crossings our officers will be handing out these cards. Just a good reminder to motorists and pedestrians about safety at railroad crossings."

This summer, an 11-year-old girl was forced to have her leg amputated after she was struck by a train on the city’s west side, and in August, a person was killed by a train in New Castle. 

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