JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About 2,100 people are killed or injured in train-related accidents every year in North America, according to train safety officials.
CSX, one of three railroad operating companies in Duval County, said it has 181 active railroad crossings in Jacksonville alone, which means drivers and pedestrians get a lot of opportunities to interact with trains.
With this being Rail Safety Week, people are being reminded it only takes a second to stop, look and listen.
"Railroad crossings are the most visual crossings that you'll have," said Master Sgt. Dylan Bryan, with the Florida Highway Patrol. "Flashing signals, bells, gates that lower, come up and down ... these are the things that are being disobeyed. So we want people to pay attention."
State troopers said one of the biggest problems they see are drivers stopping on the railroad tracks, which is illegal and dangerous. If drivers can't fully clear the track, they need to stop before it at the white line.
"Safety is paramount," Bryan said. "Whether you're in a motor vehicle, bicycles or just walking as a pedestrian, it's important to interact with the railway system in an appropriate fashion. There's a reason why we have these crossings and that type of safety mechanisms on there."
The Highway Patrol and CSX police are teaming up for Rail Safety Week and will be at numerous railroad intersections to educate drivers and pedestrians about the importance of following the law at railroad crossings, according to FHP.
If there is ever a problem or malfunction with the railroad crossing, people can call the number on the blue emergency notification signs located at every crossing area. To report emergencies to the CSX Public Safety Coordination Center, call 800-232-0144.
Officials urge people to pay attention, stay alert, never stop on the tracks and always pay attention to the posted signs and signals.