Dangerous Crossings

Dangerous Crossings

MOSELLE, MS (WDAM) - According to Operation Lifesaver, about every 3 hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train.

The rail safety organization says a train hitting a car is like a car hitting an aluminum soda can - it's no contest.

A Federal Railroad Administration Safety Database shows that in 2014 there were 2,280 vehicle-train collisions in the United States, that's 184 more than 2013. 267 of those were fatalities, some of which took place in Mississippi.

"There were 11 fatalities in the State of Mississippi and 9 of those were actually trespassing fatalities," said Mississippi Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Kimbler Sloan. "We actually had one that took place in Forrest County in 2014. The numbers in Mississippi aren't as high as they are in some other states, it's not a need for us to get complacent, we really always need to be aware of the dangers associated at railroad crossings and with trains."

Although numbers are low, Sloan said the number of fatalities keeps rising in the state, especially in trespassing.

"It just continues to grow," said Sloan. "I don't know if it's due to distractions, but if you are trespassing along railroad property and it results in you being impacted by the train, 9 times out of 10 it's going to be a fatality."

Sloan said many people are unaware that trespassing on train tracks is illegal.

"That would be you're either on a bike, you're on foot and you're on railroad property," said Sloan. "You're not at an area that's marked with the white crossbuck sign, which is the only area you should be in if you're crossing over the tracks."

According to the FRA, on average, two people are killed or injured trespassing on railroad property every day in the U.S.

"We just need to always, always expect a train," said Sloan. "All of these incidents are preventable just by simply paying more attention and not being distracted around railroad crossings. I know we're all impatient and we're all in a hurry to get somewhere but that 10 minutes can save your life, if it even takes that long for the train to get through the intersection."

Vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians walking on tracks account for 95 percent of all rail-related deaths. Operation Lifesaver says it takes more than one mile to stop a train. Don't become a statistic.

To learn more about Operation Lifesaver and for more statistics, click HERE.