Texas ranked number one for train collisions

Trains can get into accidents as their boxes come out of their line or if vehicles try to beat the train.
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 5:03 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Many train accidents have been reported in our community, but what you don’t know is that sometimes these accidents are caused because a driver was trying to beat the train.

It’s hard to miss thousands of pounds of hard metal coming your way, but there’s an issue: trains can get into accidents as their boxes come out of their line or vehicles try to beat the train.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Texas is ranked number one for train collisions and fatalities by state.

”We do our best to educate the public about rail safety and urge the community to use caution anytime they approach railroad crossings.”

Raquel Espinoza is with Union Pacific, their trains come through Laredo everyday.

But in one month, we’ve reported three train accidents in our community.

The first two incidents were from Kansas City Southern Railway and they say each accident had separate unrelated causes and that it doesn’t appear to be a “trend.”

However, this week five rail cars from Union Pacific derailed in north Laredo.

A representative says it’s important to know the difference between a derailment and a crossing accident, or collision.

”When you look at derailments, it can include a wheel coming off of a rail car inside a rail yard. This does not pose any issue to the public.”

According to Union Pacific, when an accident involves a vehicle, 90% of these cases are not the trains fault.

”A majority of the accidents have been shown to be caused inattentive driving behavior.”

They work with Operation Lifesaver to educate the community about being safe when approaching a train.

They say an “X” shaped sign means to yield for the train and when it is flashing red you need to stop, it is the same as running a red light.

It’s the drivers responsibility to slow down when a train is approaching.

”Obviously Texas being such a populous state, it obviously would indicate that you could have a higher number of accidents compared to a small state.”

Both companies say motorists and pedestrians are always encouraged when they “See tracks? Think train!”

Operation Lifesaver is the non-profit that is behind Safety Rail Week and this year it will be from September 21st to September 27th.

To learn more about Operation Lifesaver, click here.

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